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Minister urged to explain impact of Aberdeen bridge repairs

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Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson has been urged to outline the cost and programme ramifications of major repair works to a road bridge under construction in Aberdeen.

North East Scotland MSP Lewis Macdonald wrote to Matheson after Balfour Beatty last week announced that it was carrying out remedial works on the Don River Bridge.

The Don River Bridge forms the final part of the 58km-long Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route scheme which is being delivered by a joint venture of Balfour Beatty and Morrison Construction.

Macdonald said in his letter: “I would be grateful if you could outline the Scottish Government’s assessment of the situation.

“What assessment have you made of the impact this remedial work on a key component of the AWPR infrastructure will have on the timetable for completion of the project as a whole? What do you believe the impact will be on the overall cost of the AWPR? Are there any implications for safety?”

Balfour said last week in its interim results statement for the six months to 29 June 2018 that its UK construction division had taken an underlying charge of £15M for the AWPR scheme, which “experienced schedule slippage and cost increases”.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson added: “Some concrete panels are being replaced after minor defects were identified as part of the rigorous quality control processes which are utilised across the project.

”It is not unusual for minor defects to appear during the construction of major infrastructure projects. The contractor will undertake the necessary remedial works at no extra cost to the taxpayer. There will be no safety implications for users of the AWPR. The AWPR/Balmedie-Tipperty project remains on schedule to open to traffic by late Autumn 2018. 

“The previous cabinet secretary reported the latest position with the AWPR/B-T project to Parliament in March 2018 and Balfour Beatty’s interim results remain consistent with this.”

Balfour and Morrison were contacted for comment. 

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