Road workers have been forced to make repairs to several parts of the new Aberdeen bypass – after it was damaged at an event to celebrate its creation.
The Evening Express understands that, apart from repair work to the new Don bridge, the rest of the £745 million route is fully finished and ready to welcome motorists.
However, the Go North East event held earlier this month on the road near Milltimber, left parts of the route damaged, and workers are now rectifying issues – including cleaning up oil spills left on the new road and replacing tarmac which was damaged beyond repair.
According to a project source, the road could have opened last month but didn’t, in order to accommodate the flagship event – which welcomed thousands of people including pedestrians and cyclists to the route.
The source told the Evening Express: “Some of the damage was caused by oil spills at the event, we aren’t sure what caused some of the other damage.
“Workers are having to plane out the new surface and replace it in several places – doing roadworks on a new road before it’s opened.
“It is going to look like a patchwork quilt.”
They added it was a “direct result” of the Go North East event.
Transport Scotland declined to comment on the exact nature of the damage, how widespread it was or where it had taken place, but a spokesman said: “Other than minor wear and tear incidents, which are not unexpected and easily rectified, no damage has been experienced as a result of the community event.”
The source added that other sections of the road – including the stretch from Craibstone to Stonehaven – had been pencilled in to open in the days following the event and, with the exception of the new Don bridge which is undergoing remedial works, the rest of the route is now complete as far as construction goes.
They said: “The road could open today if not for this damage – all construction work is complete.
“It could have opened three weeks ago.”
Transport Scotland did not deny the claim but said no date had been confirmed for any further openings.
The government agency’s spokesman said: “The operational procedure for opening parts of the road to traffic has been discussed with stakeholders, however, as yet, no date has been confirmed for opening.”
He added: “There are a range of finishing works which are currently being undertaken by the contractor across the route.
“Works which are taking place across the project include the completion of side roads, access tracks, accommodation works, fencing and landscape planting.
“It is normal for works of this nature, which do not affect the operation of the main carriageway, to continue for some time after the main carriageway is opened for use.
“It is not unusual for minor defects to appear during the construction of major infrastructure projects.
“The contractor will undertake any necessary remedial works to ensure that they are completed to the appropriate standard, at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
“The project is on target to open by late autumn 2018. We are working with the contractor to open parts of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.”
North East MSP Lewis Macdonald said he was disappointed to hear Transport Scotland had missed an opportunity to open a major section of the road as soon as possible.
“The overall opening date is still autumn but the sooner they can sort the surface problems the better,” he said.
The Transport Scotland spokesman insisted the AWPR “will open at the earliest opportunity”.
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He added: “Safety is of the utmost importance to us and, as such, some finishing works, including road safety audits, must be undertaken before the road can open.
“We said we would open new sections of road as soon as they were ready for traffic and we are delivering on that commitment with Balmedie to Tipperty opening in August 2018, Parkhill to Goval earlier this year in June and the Craibstone roundabout and Dyce Drive section in August 2016.
“We are continuing to work with the contractor to open new sections of the road as soon as possible.
“Advance notification will be provided.”
Balfour Beatty was contacted for comment but said due to the “partnering nature” of the project, all statements relating to the AWPR are co-ordinated by Transport Scotland.