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Scottish government bundles £450m Aberdeen road schemes

18 Oct 12 The £350m contract to build the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) scheme is going to be bundled with the £100m Balmedie to Tipperty A90 road improvement scheme as a single construction project.

Aberdeen is getting its bypass
Aberdeen is getting its bypass

They will be let together under one non-profit distributing (NPD) contract to speed up procurement, the Scottish government has announced.

The decision to combine the two schemes into a single £450m contract follows delays caused by a lengthy legal battle that culminated yesterday in a Supreme Court ruling that the AWPR scheme should go ahead.

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the court ruling and said that it was now time to “crack on and deliver” the project. Protesters have now run out of legal avenues to prevent work.

Mr Salmond said that prior information notices would be issued this week and drilling works will start on site next month. The project will go to tender early next year, with works now expected to start in autumn 2014 and be completed by spring 2018.

Mr Salmond said:  “The decision by the Supreme Court is a just ruling for the north east of Scotland and an opportunity for Scotland that marks the end of five incredibly frustrating years for the vast majority of people who are behind this ambitious project.

“Over the next three decades, the AWPR and the Balmedie to Tipperty road schemes are expected to bring in an additional £6bn to the local economy, creating around 14,000 new jobs. It is therefore crucial that we crack on and deliver these vital and frankly long overdue infrastructure projects.

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“The minority who have held up the AWPR have had many days in court – not to mention a protracted public local inquiry – and they have lost on every occasion.  Now that their challenge has come to an end, our focus is now to move on from these unwanted legal problems and make quick progress for the people of the north east – they have waited long enough.

“Quite clearly, these unwanted delays will result in a substantial increase in the overall cost of this project, but its value to the north east and wider Scottish economy is such that it must go ahead.  Work will now begin to quantify the total project costs and we will update Parliament with revised figures as soon as possible.

“When it is finished, the AWPR/Balmedie-Tipperty project will bring economic, environmental and road safety benefits to the area as well as improving the integration of public transport and access to Aberdeen. The time for debate is over, let’s deliver a project for the people of the north east that will make us all proud.”

Scottish Building Federation chief executive Michael Levack was also pleased at the outcome. “A final decision on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route has been a very long time in coming,” he said. “For the local construction industry, today’s announcement is fantastic news. Not only will this £450m project offer major opportunities during the construction phase. It also unlocks the future development of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for years to come. It will help the north-east to reach its full potential by enabling delivery of the new housing and other infrastructure the local economy needs to be able to grow. It sends a powerful message that this area of Scotland is open for business.”

Preparatory work has already started along the AWPR route, including archaeological and environmental surveys and Transport Scotland will shortly announce details of future planned advance works.

Ground investigation work for the 8km Balmedie to Tipperty scheme is also well underway by ESG Soil Mechanics, and procurement for a supplementary ground investigation on the AWPR has started and is expected to begin next month.

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