Leaders of two firms working on the delayed AWPR project are to be grilled by politicians tomorrow.
The £750 million project to improve the north-east’s road network was due to have been finished by now, but Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said delays had pushed back the opening.
He accused one of the AWPR’s contractors, Galliford Try, of changing its story on when red tape would be overcome – but they have been unable to speak out on the issue due to contractual restrictions.
However, that will change tomorrow when senior representatives of Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty – together known as Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL) – give answers at an hour-long meeting of the Scottish Government’s rural economy and connectivity committee.
It is understood those answering questions will be Balfour Beatty major projects managing director Stephen Tarr and Galliford Try’s construction and investment chief executive and ARL director Brian Love.
Committee members will be able to grill Mr Matheson on the progress of the AWPR.
The key sticking points are that repairs, which only came to light in October, are needed on the River Don Crossing and that the 19.5-mile section from Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston is physically finished, but has not been opened due to red tape.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament on November 1, Mr Matheson said: “The contractors have not been entirely straight on the matter and I have made it clear in my response to the contractor I find that completely unacceptable.”
Mr Matheson has since met contractors. No new sections of the AWPR have opened since and there has been no confirmed completion date.
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A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The contractor advised us they are working to a December (opening) date but cannot be definitive because of the technical issues at the River Don Crossing and other physical factors such as the weather.
“An update on an opening date for Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston will be provided when we are in a position to do so.”
Labour North East MSP Lewis Macdonald said contractors were in an “impossible situation” as they cannot comment publicly and added: “We need to let them explain themselves.”