KEITH Brown, Scotland’s transport minister, visited Aberdeen today to see the preparations for construction work finally begin on the long awaited city bypass.
He toured the site of the former International School of Aberdeen which is to be demolished to help pave the way for the £745 million project to build the 28-mile Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).
The Scottish Government first announced its support for the vital roads scheme back in January 2003, when the scheme was estimated to cost £120 million. But delays caused by a public inquiry and a series of legal challenges by protestors have sent the cost of the project soaring.
Mr Brown said: ““With clear benefits of an expected 14,200 jobs and a £6 billion economic boost over the next 30 years, it is essential that we press ahead with this vital scheme as quickly as possible.
“The AWPR will improve journey times, reduce congestion and help open up wider markets for the regionally and nationally important economy of the north-east delivering benefits of both local and national importance.”
He continued: “Demolition of the former International School of Aberdeen marks a visual sign of the very real progress made on the AWPR project in a very short space of time. Local communities and road users can now see physical work taking place to deliver this vital scheme for the North east. After years of delay, we should not underplay the need to ensure the current pace continues.”
Mr Brown also revealed that, as a part of the construction plans, 90 per cent of materials from the demolition of the school will be recycled. He said: “As with any scheme of this nature, it is equally important we minimise the environmental impact of all operations, that is why we welcome the contractors efforts to recycle as much material as possible.”
Barney Crockett, the leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “The demolition is another major milestone in the construction of this long-awaited road which will have such significant economic impacts across the whole region.”
And Jim Gifford, the leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “As work gets underway on this particular project, we’ll be able to see the first signs of AWPR construction beginning, and it is pleasing to see that efforts have been made to re-use some of the materials from the school where possible.”
The bypass is being built in a joint project with the dualling of the Balmedie to Tipperty stretch of the A90.