Claims that contractors behind the Aberdeen bypass could “cut corners” will “set alarm bells ringing”, an MSP has said.
Physical work on the remaining part of the bypass is finished but safety checks have still to be carried out before it can open.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson revealed yesterday that despite the works to the Don Crossing section now being complete, the road will not open until technical experts are satisfied.
He said Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL), contractors for the project, have been cautioned against “cutting corners” in order to get the route open in time for January.
North East Scotland MSP Peter Chapman, said: “I was concerned to read the suggestion, attributed to the Transport Secretary, that Aberdeen Roads Ltd may be ‘cutting corners’ on contractual issues.
“While I understand there is an ongoing dispute between ARL and the Scottish Government, it does not reflect well on either party to conduct this disagreement in the pages of the local press.
“This will set alarm bells ringing among local residents and businesses that we could yet see further delays.
“I have now written to Mr Matheson seeking clarity on several points. In particular, the north-east public have a right to know when they can expect this road to be fully completed.
“The government should also provide reassurances that no corners will be cut and that this project will be completed as promised, in line with best practice and best value for the taxpayer.”
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A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Mr Matheson’s statement on Monday was a comprehensive update on the current situation with the final section of the AWPR, which we are aware the people and businesses of the north-east will be keen to know.
“Mr Matheson continues to be open and consistent about this and other matters.
“ARL has known for some time that technical assurances regarding the longer term impact of its complex repairs to the defects on the Don Crossing were required.
“There is no dispute. Transport Scotland continues to work constructively with ARL.
“However under no circumstances will the final section open until our technical experts are satisfied the public purse is protected.
“The estimated total cost of the AWPR scheme remains at £745m. It is not unusual for claims for additional sums to be raised by a contractor on large, complex infrastructure projects.
“However, not all claims have merit.
“While it is not appropriate to comment in detail on the contractor’s claim due to the commercially confidential nature of the discussions regarding it, we can confirm that, to date, ARL has yet to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate its claim.”