Work on bypass finally gets under way

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Keith Brown cut the soil at Balmedie.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Keith Brown cut the soil at Balmedie.

The First Minister got long-awaited work on the Aberdeen bypass under way this week at Balmedie.

Nicola Sturgeon described Monday’s soil-cutting ceremony as a “landmark day” for the North-east.

The £745 million AWPR/Balmedie-Tipperty road scheme will be delivered in stages with the completion due in winter of 2017 - around six months ahead of schedule.

Ms Sturgeon, accompanied at Balmedie by Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Keith Brown, said: “This is a landmark day for the North-east, with the construction of the largest road scheme of its kind anywhere in the UK now underway.

“The start of work is a big win for local communities, businesses, and road users and will bring much-needed early relief to the congestion we see in and around Aberdeen on a daily basis.”

Construction work is expected to create around 1500 jobs and more than 100 apprenticeships.

Aberdeenshire Council leader Jim Gifford said it was particularly satisfying to be marking the event at Balmedie, one of the key communities that will benefit from the improvements the AWPR will bring to the local road network.

He added: “The project is gaining momentum and we’ll soon be seeing a great deal of activity across the area as construction of this vital route for the area takes shape.”

Local politicians have also welcomed the start of the work.

Ellon and District Councillor Gillian Owen said it gives her fresh impetus to press on with dualling from Ellon to Peterhead.

She added: “Many people thought they would never see this day, and it has been a long time coming.

“I am determined that the extension of the dual carriageway to Peterhead will not take so long, hence the campaign, ‘Why stop at Ellon?’.

“We need to raise our voices loudly, otherwise we will just be ignored.”

Councillor Richard Thomson described it as a “good day for the North-east”.

He said: “In order to make a worthwhile difference to journey times, Balmedie-Tipperty always needed to be delivered alongside the AWPR. I’m delighted that with the vexatious legal challenges now out of the way and the necessary design and contract work completed, we can now see the road physically being built.

“It won’t be long before commuters and business will be able to enjoy shorter and more reliable journey times across and within Aberdeen.

“That’s something which is going to make a huge difference for the better to the lives of people all across the North-east.”