Part of the Aberdeen bypass has had its completion date knocked back by almost a year.
The Balmedie to Tipperty section of the AWPR was due to open in spring 2017 but has now been delayed until winter 2017/2018.
Contractors for the £745 million project told Transport Scotland it wouldn’t meet the target date because it hadn’t finished earthworks before winter.
Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North-east, said: “People in the North-east have been waiting for a long time for the Aberdeen bypass to open, and will be disappointed to hear about this substantial delay to a key section of the route.
“There have already been issues with the construction of the AWPR, including problems with compensation for farmers who suffered damage to their land, and pollution concerns over run-off into the River Dee.
“Now the Minister has been forced into an admission that the Balmedie-Tipperty dualling has been pushed back by almost a year because works in advance of the winter months had not been completed in time.”
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown announced the delay in a letter to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on Friday.
The revised date coincides with the rest of the AWPR’s opening time frame.
In the letter he said continuing with certain works through the winter period could give rise to environmental risks.
The AWPR was held up for several years due to a legal challenge from a local campaigner in the north east, who took the case all the way to the UK Supreme Court.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The contractor, Aberdeen Roads Limited, has not completed seasonally dependant earthworks on the Balmedie-Tipperty section of the project in advance of this winter period.
“They will recommence these key earthworks after the winter period, which has a consequential impact on the planned opening date for the Balmedie to Tipperty section.
“The contractor has revised the Balmedie to Tipperty section date to open in line with the rest of the AWPR/B-T project.
“Sections of the scheme are already opened to traffic, for example at Aberdeen Airport – ahead of the contractor’s’ scheduled completion date – bringing benefits to the local area.”