The Aberdeen bypass is on track to open in autumn this year, the Scottish Parliament was told today.
Giving evidence to a Holyrood committee Keith Brown, secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said the later completion date is anticipated, despite the “continuing ambition” of contractors on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route to open in the summer.
Mr Brown told the rural economy and connectivity committee: “While I appreciate the contractors’ continuing ambition to achieve a summer opening, Transport Scotland’s on-site technical advisers have stated that an autumn 2018 opening may be a more realistic date.”
Mr Brown also said plans were being made for an event to celebrate the opening of the new bypass.
He said: “Work is progressing well and we are now at a stage where we can consider plans for a suitable event to celebrate the opening of this significant project.
“I look forward to being able to provide further information on the opening event in due course.”
Mr Brown also expressed his thanks to the people of the north-east for their “continued patience, while these essential works take place”.
Mr Brown’s statement came as Galliford Try, a partner on the AWPR, reported in a trading statement that poor weather at the beginning of this year will raise costs.
The amount of money is not yet known and will depend on the amount of progress made on the project throughout the summer.
In the trading statement, chief executive Peter Truscott said: “We have experienced some further cost pressure, principally from weather delays, which are likely to increase the exceptional charge in the current year.
“The amount will depend upon progress recovered through the summer.”
Snow and ice brought the north-east to a standstill in February, when the Beast from the East forced the closure of roads and schools across the region as an amber weather warning was put into effect.
Contrary to what Mr Brown has reported to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Truscott said: “Practical completion of the project is anticipated this summer.”
A spokesman for Galliford Try declined to comment further.