In a ministerial statement today, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matherson revealed that the opening date of the AWPR would be in “December” but could not provide a specific date.
The statement marks the latest in a long line of delays to the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) opening. It has been reported that there are ongoing issues with the bridge across the river Don, but the remainder of the route is reportedly ready to be opened.
During the ministerial statement, it was revealed, that the Stonehaven to Westhill section of the road could not be opened due to a contractual fault. The Scottish Government said they were in discussions with the road building consortium to vary the existing contract to get the road opened as soon as possible.
During a heated exchange, North East Region MSP Mike Rumbles said the minister was “guilty of continuing to mislead the public” with his statement to Holyrood. Mr Rumbles accused the Scottish Government of “mishandling the contract” and urged the minister to “stop blaming the contractors, the weather, public safety and anybody but the Scottish Government”
Mr Matherson replied that Mr Rumbles wanted the Scottish Government to “ignore the issues of public safety.”
Commenting on Facebook, Andrew Bowie Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine said: “More disappointing news from the SNP Government and Transport Scotland today, the AWPR opening date has now moved from “Late Autumn” to completely unknown. The Cabinet Secretary seems intent on blaming contractors for this delay when it transpires that the fault lies with the Scottish Government for signing a faulty contract. I would urge the Cabinet Secretary to do all he can to open the finished sections as soon as possible.”
The statement raises further questions of the Scottish Government’s handling of the project which is months overdue, with no official opening date in sight.