Aberdeen bypass delay extends into 2019

The long-running saga of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route looks set to continue for a few more weeks after contractors on the job warned the Scottish government the scheme would now not be completed until January.

The final 7.5km stretch of the road between Parkhill and Craibstone was due to be finished by the Aberdeen Roads partnership of Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try this month.

But Scottish transport minister Michael Matheson said the JV had informed him it was no longer able to meet its own deadline of concluding works at the Don river crossing before Christmas.

“This is just over a fortnight since it set this deadline publicly in Parliament,” Matheson said. “I have consistently urged caution and realism about ARL’s ambitious timescales. Unfortunately, as disappointing as this news is, it comes as no surprise to me it has been unable to achieve this.”

Matheson said the contractors needed to provide what he called “the necessary technical and commercial assurances for the Don Crossing”.

He said the government wanted to “protect the public purse [and] cannot and will not contemplate releasing payments for this structure without these critical assurances”.

Last week Balfour Beatty announced it would complete the fixed-price £533m job this month, more than a year late.

In a trading update the firm had said that together with Galliford Try it was continuing what “a dialogue” with Transport Scotland on a commercial agreement in relation to associated claims on the job.

Delays on the job have cost contractors tens of millions of pounds, with the firms losing £4m on being unable to open a finished road.

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