Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has admitted a legal wrangle over costs for the Aberdeen bypass could end up in court.
Speaking to the Evening Express, Mr Matheson said Aberdeen Roads Limited would need to have clear evidence for any request to Transport Scotland for money above the £745 million fixed price previously agreed.
He said: “There is a process that contractors engage with Transport Scotland in but it is the responsibility of the contractor to substantiate any claim they feel they have got.”
Despite the Evening Express’ understanding that ARL is poised to launch a claim for in the region of £350m extra from the Scottish Government, Mr Matheson insisted “there is no figure attached to these matters” at the moment.
He added: “I made it very clear to parliament there would need to be evidence and data to support such a claim. Ultimately, if this can’t be achieved through this process it may be a matter that would have to be dealt with by the courts.”
Mr Matheson went on to say he felt contractors could have opened the Stonehaven to Craibstone route earlier.
He said: “I’m delighted the contractor has finally agreed to open up this section. My view is they could have had this section of the road open much earlier, given that it was ready for use back in October.”
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Mr Matheson said Transport Scotland was told of bridge defects on the new A90 Don Bridge in May but they were described as “minor”.
He said: “Contractors did notify Transport Scotland of bridge defects, but at the time they were notified they were minor defects and they were still projecting to have an opening date in late autumn.
“It was only on October 26 they come back and stated the defects were more substantial than they originally thought and it would take a longer period to address these issues than originally appreciated.”