Transport chiefs say the new Aberdeen bypass is expected to reduce the number of accidents in the north-east by around 80 per year.
The AWPR project was first proposed in 1952, with the Goval to Blackdog section due to open soon and the whole bypass now scheduled to be completed by late autumn.
During its construction the AWPR has seen 6.2 million sqm of grass sown in the area – the equivalent of 870 football pitches – 1.4m trees and shrubs planted and the creation of three wildlife bridges which allow animals to safety cross.
It is one of the largest projects in the UK and spans 36 miles, has 25 miles of new side roads, 19 miles of access track, 12 junctions and two river crossings. At its peak there were 2,500 workers on site.
A new campaign called GoNorthEast is also set to promote safety ahead of the bypass opening.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown said: “We estimate there will be 80 less accidents a year, one of which would be fatal – so there are huge benefits to the local area.
“We’re looking towards completion around October/November this year. If we can do it earlier than that, we will.
“But we need to do this in a safe way. That’s important for this huge project which has had one or two issues, such as Storm Frank, which set it back by a few months.
“Of course we’ve had the collapse of Carillion which has meant that some other projects on this scale have been mothballed or delayed substantially.
“But what we’re seeing now is this road going ahead, with big parts of it almost ready for cars to go on to.
“We need to do this in a safe way. People have been waiting 60 to 70 years for this project.
“We do acknowledge, of course, the disruption that’s been there but this will be a fantastic addition to the roads network.
“It’ll make transport in this area safer and it’ll make it greener.”
Chief Inspector of road policing in the north of Scotland Stewart Mackie added: “When the road opens it will be one of the safest in the country. We will have police patrols on the road as well.
“It’s new, so we want to encourage people to take their time and take care until they get to know it.”
Emma Bellu, chief executive of safety charity Absafe, praised the project’s aim to reduce road accidents by around 80 per year.
“Communities in the north-east have long awaited improvements to the local road network that can reduce the injury toll on our roads,” she said.
“Using the latest in safe road design, the AWPR/B-T will improve safety and reduce accidents by taking traffic away from unsuitable rural roads and urban areas.
“This will make journeys safer and less stressful for drivers and give streets back to their communities.
“This project can quite literally save lives, reduce injuries and improve wellbeing and we welcome the celebration in the run-up to the official opening.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “A fully operational AWPR will be a huge boost to our area.
“Forecasts suggest the economic benefit it will bring to the regional economy is in excess of £6 billion over the next three decades as well as providing a platform for the creation of 14,000 new jobs.
“In addition to improving the quality of life for our residents – a major factor in economic development – faster journey times and improved north to south connectivity will increase business productivity and help us to secure the next tranche of investment we need to deliver our renaissance region vision.”
As revealed in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Express, project bosses have said that following the completion of the route in the River Dee valley there will be a weekend of community events on September 8-9.
Attractions will include a travel through the ages showcase, with a display of vintage vehicles.
There will also be the chance for cyclists to travel along the stretch in the area prior to its opening – which they will not be able to do afterwards.
Mr Brown added: “We will be involving businesses as well to make sure they’re aware of the benefits that arise from the opening of the new road.
“It’s about the local community. This is their road.
“It’s been built for their benefit, for individuals and businesses.
“They are the people who have paid for it. The taxpayers paid for this road so I think they are entitled to feel a part of it through education initiatives, competitions and business events.
“We want communities to take ownership of this road.
“We estimate around £6bn of economic benefit to the north-east in the opening of this road over a 30-year period.”