Delay for the Aberdeen by-pass is a disappointment

The announcement by the Minister for Transport, Stewart Stevenson, that the completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) would not now be until 2012 is extremely disappointing. But it is not surprising.

The AWPR is already decades after it was desperately needed, due to years of prevarication by previous local and national authorities. So the re-affirmation of a commitment to building this road is at least a silver lining on this particular cloud.

When open, it will end the nonsense of losing as much as an hour of journey time even before leaving Aberdeen. Crawling over a mediaeval bridge which was opened in 1527 and last widened in 1840 for horse-drawn traffic. Unbelievably, this historic bridge, with its seven-foot width restriction remains the only trunk road link between Europe's Energy Capital and the rest of the UK and Europe beyond!

Newhills traffic
Traffic on the unclassified Kingswells/Newhills road tries to find a way round Aberdeen

The fact that a project on this scale has suffered some slippage in its schedule, while most regrettable, is perhaps unsurprising. At the same time we must recognise that it will cost business and family road users further millions in the additional year before it opens. That means another year of wasted time and fuel sitting in queues all over this city. It is damaging the competitiveness of Aberdeen City and Shire.

The new Scottish Executive have made it clear that they are working flat out to deliver the road, but they claim that there was no slack built into the programme set by their predecessors. They also say there have been mistakes in the programme so far.

The Labour/Lib Dem coalition members, now in opposition, are of course trying to point the finger of blame at the new Scottish Executive.

But, it is difficult to make the mud stick when the new administration have only been in power for a matter of weeks.

The bottom line is that, those of us who are daily inconvenienced, penalised and disadvantaged by an archaic roads network want this petty mud-slinging to stop.

We elected our politicians to work together and simply get on with delivering this vital and much-delayed part of our transport infrastructure.
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