The consortium building Aberdeen’s bypass is preparing to bid for an extra £350 million from the Scottish Government due to the spiralling costs of the project.
The Evening Express can today reveal the scale of the claim after contractors revealed the cost of the £745m scheme, which aims to improve north-east traffic flow, was now more than £1 billion.
As reported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Express, the contractors told politicians during a Holyrood meeting hundreds of millions of pounds over the fixed price contract had been spent on the AWPR project.
They refused to say if the firms in the consortium would be seeking tens or hundreds of millions in extra payments from the Scottish Government.
However, a project insider told the Evening Express the claim would be in the region of £350m.
The contractor did however confirm it would foot the bill for worked needed to repair defects at the new A90 Don crossing.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, who last month blasted contractors on the project for reneging on a pledge within 24 hours, told MSPs at yesterday’s rural economy and connectivity committee he could not comment on the size of the claim due to confidentiality, while a Transport Scotland spokesman said: “This (claims) process has not yet concluded so we are not in a position to provide further details.”
He added it could be years before the issue is resolved – and Mr Matheson said the dispute may end up going to court.
At the meeting, West Scotland Tory MSP Jamie Greene referred to a document of Balfour Beatty – one of three AWPR contractors alongside Galliford Try and Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL).
The document stated the compensation claim or “recovery position” was “highly probable to succeed”.
Balfour Beatty’s major projects managing director Stephen Tarr told the committee: “There are significant costs that run into the hundreds of millions and it has placed an additional burden on Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty.
“We have a claim for a not insignificant sum which we are in discussions with Transport Scotland over.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “It is not unusual for claims to be raised by a contractor on large complex infrastructure projects such as this one.
“Like most contracts of this nature, the AWPR contract contains a mechanism for dealing with claims.”
He added that Transport Scotland has been in dialogue with contractors to gain a better understanding of the exact nature of the claim.
“However Aberdeen Road Limited has yet to provide the evidence to substantiate any such claim. This process has not yet concluded, so we are not in a position to provide further details,” he said.
“ARL spent two years in dialogue bidding for the project where the risks associated with it were known and this did not deter it from bidding for and winning the contract for this major public infrastructure project.”