Aberdeen bypass will now be delayed by up to another six months

A recent picture of the �745 million Aberdeen bypass near Stonehaven
A recent picture of the �745 million Aberdeen bypass near Stonehaven
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The flagship £745 million Aberdeen bypass road will delayed by up to six months.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown is now facing calls to apologise to the people of Scotland’s north east over the setback on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

Angry opposition parties at Holyrood branded the project a “catalogue of errors.”

The road was initially scheduled for completion in spring this year.

But after the collapse of key partner Carillion, it emerged last week the other main contractor Balfour Beatty admitted the spring completion date had been pushed back to the summer.

Mr Brown told MSPs this has now been pushed back even further.

“While this revision to the opening date is very disappointing to the people of the north east, we have to accept the expert advice of our contractors on the ground who are delivering this significant project,” he said.

“Clearly there has been a huge amount of work that has gone in to getting the project to where we are now. I would like to pay tribute to the effort of the people who are working hard to get this project over the finishing line.

“I understand how highly anticipated this project is for those living and working in the region and the patience local communities have shown during the construction process.”

But North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald hit out at the lack of direction for the project.

He said: “The issue is not just delay after delay from season to season. It’s also the sense that nobody is in charge.

“There appears to be no communication between Government and contractors except under the pressure of events.”

Mr Macdonald called on Mr Brown to visit the north-east and provide assurance to residents that the road will be completed.

“It’s that absolute certainty that people most need,” he said.

Conservative Rural Economy spokesman Peter Chapman said: “I have asked the Economy Secretary on several occasions to come clean and admit that the AWPR would be delayed again.

“However, the SNP are always so desperate to avoid a bad headline that they simply wouldn’t own up.

“After today’s statement, we are none the wiser as to whether this project will be finished in August or November.

“The Balmedie-Tipperty stretch was supposed to open in spring 2017, so that is already a year late.

“Quite frankly, people in the north-east deserve better.

“Keith Brown should apologise to local residents, and particularly the farmers and landowners that have put up with severe disruption during this process.”

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