The Aberdeen by-pass has finally been given the green light, but the Scottish Government’s announcement
does seem to be back-pedalling on the commitment to build the AWPR
by the Transport Minister’s date of 2012
The announcement of the go-ahead for the 28-mile, £395 million by-pass came from John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government. Until the AWPR opens, the Mediaeval Bridge of Dee remains the only trunk road link for Aberdeen and North Aberdeenshire
"The AWPR is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the North East, bringing a range of substantial benefits to the region,” Mr Swinney said. “The route will provide a much needed bypass around Aberdeen linking existing major roads and key locations such as the airport, park and ride sites and the major industrial estates around the city. The bypass will reduce congestion in the heart of the city as well as remove thousands of vehicles from the area's rural roads which are unsuitable for such high volumes of traffic.
"Subject to completing the necessary statutory process,” he continued, “it is hoped to seek suitably qualified contractors in 2010-11. However, the Orders need to be approved by Parliament and assuming that is given, we would need to review the remaining stages of the project, including procurement, before issuing a definitive timetable."
The AWPR was first mooted in the mid 1990s in the final weeks of Grampian Regional Council. At that time the road was proposed as a single-carriageway, whereas the current proposal is for a dual carriageway of ’near motorway standard’.
The project gained momentum in 2003 when then First Minister, Jack McConnell confirmed that the Scottish Government would fund 81% of the route, with the remainder being paid by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils. Today’s announcement follows a 10-week public local inquiry in 2008.
Until the new road is built, the only trunk road link into Aberdeen – Europe’s Energy Capital – is over the Bridge of Dee, which was built in 1527. This bridge is the first break in a European dual-carriageway network that stretches as far as the south of Spain and the south of Italy.
The river crossing for the first Aberdeen by-pass proposal was approved by the Secretary of State in 1957. The new bridge was to cross the Dee around where Sainsbury’s supermarket is now, it was to have linked to both the outer by-pass and the Anderson Drive ring road.