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Tue May 11 2021

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Earthworks delays hit Aberdeen bypass

13 Dec 16 The consortium of contractors building the £550m Balmedie to Tipperty section of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route has missed its deadline to complete earthworks before winter and has had to push back the planned completion date.

Target completion for the flagship Transport Scotland project is now winter 2017/18 instead of spring 2017.

Aberdeen Roads Ltd, comprising Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Galliford Try, was selected as preferred bidder to design, build, finance and operate the £550m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route / Balmedie-Tipperty project back in 2014. The clients are Transport Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The project includes designing and constructing 58 kilometres of new dual carriageway.

The Scottish government initially indicated an outline delivery programme for the project of spring 2018. But the contracting team said they could finish by spring 2017 instead. However, they have failed to get earthworks completed and this has had a knock-on impact on the programme of approximately nine months.

In an update to the Scottish parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, cabinet secretary Keith Brown explained: “On 9th November 2016 the contractor formally advised Transport Scotland that it was no longer planning or able to open the Balmedie-Tipperty section in spring 2017. The contractor confirmed that it had not completed key earthworks prior to the current winter period, resulting in a consequential impact on the programme for that section. Continuing those earthworks throughout the winter period may give rise to certain environmental risks connected with the control of run-off from the site and issues around the protection of weather susceptible materials.

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“Since November, my officials have interrogated the contractor’s programme and challenged them to ensure that they are mitigating the effects where possible. Transport Scotland’s technical advisors have also conducted a full independent programme review.

“Having considered the outstanding earthworks, the onset of the winter periods and the risks referred to above, the contractor has revised its programme for the Balmedie to Tipperty section of the project from spring 2017 to winter 2017/18.

“Separately, phase 1 of the project at Aberdeen Airport opened in August this year – ahead of the contractor’s planned autumn target – and is already bringing benefits to the local area.”

Rural economy committee member Peter Chapman told the BBC: “The management of the construction must be called into question.”

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