NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen bypass: Sections could open 'ahead of schedule'

Aberdeen bypass map
Image caption The bypass is aimed at creating a fast link around Aberdeen

Sections of the planned Aberdeen bypass could open earlier than the 2018 completion date, according to the transport minister.

Keith Brown said there was "no cast iron guarantee" for delivering the £653m road, but benefits for road users could be sooner than initially planned.

The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) was first given the green light by Scottish ministers in 2009 but it has been delayed by legal action.

Work is expected to begin in 2014.

Transport Scotland, the government agency behind the scheme, has been lobbied by Aberdeen airport, the city harbour and communities, all asking for speedy construction of individual sections.

One proposal is to improve access to the airport at Dyce to the north of the city before the completion date.

Mr Brown said the Scottish government hoped to announce a preferred bidder for the project by summer, after which they would look at possible changes to the timescales for delivering specific elements of the scheme.

He said: "There is no cast iron guarantee I can give at this stage, but we will do everything we can to work with the preferred bidder to see what can be done without compromising the project completion date of spring 2018 or produce unnecessary disruption or congestion.

"Where possible, this could mean sections of the new road opening earlier than the completion date and benefits for road users being delivered much sooner."

He said the AWPR would bring more than £6bn of investment to the north east over the next 30 years.

The A90 scheme will see the busy stretch between Balmedie and Tipperty in Aberdeenshire become a dual carriageway.

It will provide continuous dual carriageway between Aberdeen and Ellon, aimed at improved safety and faster journey times.

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