Bakers Bulletin - AWPR

The AWPR was first announced in 2003
The AWPR was first announced in 2003

After so many years of delays and waiting, finally the Scottish government has awarded the contract for the AWPR and the Balmedie to Tipperty dualling.

For too many years our poor transport infrastructure has not only frustrated motorists but has been detrimental to our local economy.

Traffic delays and congestion costs our local businesses millions of pounds each year, so many people will have welcomed the opportunity to visit the exhibitions this week which outlined how the project will now proceed.

The AWPR is a highly lucrative contract where the successful consortium will receive millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money, so it is vital that Ministers ensure the project is delivered without any further delay.

But in my view Ministers are still in the go-slow lane when it comes to other important issues regarding the need for investment in our local transport network.

Transport Minister Keith Brown revealed at the end of last year that parts of the AWPR may open early but he gave no detail on which sections of the route this might apply.

I have tabled parliamentary questions to seek further details on this and what impact it might have on linked projects such as the Haudagain roundabout in Aberdeen.

A current target of completing the improvements required at the Haudagain by 2020 is distinctly lacking in ambition and would consign commuters within and travelling through the city to years more of traffic jam misery.

It is also vital that the AWPR is not only important for our economy in the long-term but provides a much needed boost in the short-term to our local construction industry and opportunities for employment.

That is why I am pressing ministers to ensure our local businesses get a fair chance to bid for work as part of the project and to win contracts and for opportunities for apprenticeships too.

At the same time it is crucial that the contract is clear that the pernicious practice of blacklisting will not be tolerated in this project and that appropriate penalties are in place for anyone found guilty of engaging in such action.

It has take a long time to get to the point of work starting on this vital project so it must now be delivered in way which maximises the benefits for the North-east and local workers.