The Scottish Government plans to celebrate completion of the ‘eagerly anticipated’ Aberdeen bypass by the end of the year.
Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) will be fully completed later this year, with further sections opening to traffic over the summer.
He announced a promotional campaign for the new road, the focal point of which will be a community weekend of family-orientated events and activities on 8 and 9 September on the road itself in the River Dee valley on the boundary between Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Transport Scotland said it will be a ‘fete style’ event with attractions including a celebration of travel through the ages with vintage vehicles and future electric vehicle technology. There will also be opportunities for cyclists of a wide range of abilities to experience the road before it fully opens.
The event will be supported by the 'GoNorthEast' campaign, which aims to underline the benefits of the £745m project, which has been beset by problems including delays, the collapse of Carillion and losses by the two remaining contractors.
The new Balmedie junction opened to traffic on 30 April.
Mr Brown said: ‘The AWPR/B-T is a major artery that will breathe new life into the region. It is much more than a bypass, a term that simply doesn’t do justice to a scheme of this vast scale. It will enhance connectivity with the rest of Scotland, better connect local communities, improve productivity, quality of life and allow for better public transport and active travel opportunities in the city.
‘The North East has had to wait a long time for this transformational project to come to fruition, it was first proposed 66 years ago in 1952. This timely campaign therefore seeks to remind people of the real, lasting benefits that will follow and, the community event in particular, aims to bring communities together to celebrate this landmark time for the region.
‘As we start seeing sections of the road open, with much more to follow over the coming months, we can look forward to the road delivering the many benefits it promises.’
The AWPR/B-T has been of the largest roads construction projects in Europe. Its the route covers 36 miles, with 25 miles of new side roads, 19 miles of access track, 12 junctions, two river crossings over the Dee and the Don and a bridge for the Aberdeen to Inverness railway.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Cllr Jenny Laing said: ‘The AWPR will bring many benefits to Aberdeen including redirecting through traffic away from the city centre which, in turn feeds into our City Centre Masterplan designed to revitalise the area turning it into more of a destination rather than a through-road.’
Cllr Jim Gifford, leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: ‘The launch of the GoNorthEast campaign shows that we are now very close to reaching the finishing line for this major infrastructure project. Road users are already becoming familiar with sections of the route that are already open to traffic, and it won’t be too much longer before we see the AWPR/B-T fully connected and available to all.