The transport secretary has insisted he “will not be held over a barrel” by Aberdeen bypass contractors.
Michael Matheson made the assertion while being questioned by north-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald at Holyrood.
Mr Matheson said he would look to protect the public purse from having to fork out for the £250 million overspend by ensuring that any claims by contractors have “merit”.
The Don River Crossing finally opened yesterday, after months of delays, however questions remain as to who will cover the additional costs.
Mr Macdonald asked if there would be any changes made to the £1.045bn final cost of the bypass, prompting Mr Matheson to say there were no reasons to believe that changes would come in the near future.
He continued: “The contractor entered into this agreement willingly. What I’m trying to do is to hold them to that contract.
“There have been those who wanted me to just get on with it, to just open the road, but what I’m doing is making sure we act in the taxpayers’ interest and not allow contractors to hold us over a barrel and put a gun to our head to extract more taxpayers’ money for a road they are already being paid for.
“We will continue to take this line with them.
“We will continue to deliver for the people of the north-east, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the AWPR.”
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In the same session, north-east Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles asked if the public purse was vulnerable to all of the cost overrun.
In response, Mr Matheson said: “Just because a contractor makes a claim does not mean that it has merit.
“Each claim must be substantiated and to date the contractors have failed to do so.
“There is a process for this to go through and that is what we’re going to do.”