Annual Review 2014
Roads and Road Maintenance
Forth Replacement Crossing Team record
Forth Replacement Crossing right central tower construction
The Forth Replacement Crossing Project has seen a total of £145 million worth of savings since construction on the project commenced in June 2011. In September 2013, a new budget range for the Crossing was established as £1.4 – 1.45 billion (reduced from £1.45 – 1.6 billion).
In June 2013, over 35,000 votes were cast by the public for the five shortlisted names in the ‘Name the Bridge’ competition and saw Queensferry Crossing announced as the winner, after receiving 35.5% of the public vote.
September 2013 saw a crucial phase of construction on the Queensferry Crossing with the completion of the three main tower foundations. This included a new world record for the largest underwater concrete pour which involved a 15 day, 24 hour non-stop operation that successfully poured 16,869 m3 of concrete into the foundations of the south tower.
The Forth Road Bridge Bill received Royal Assent in June 2013, and at the same time became the 200th Act of the Scottish Parliament.
In August we announced the preferred bidder for the £310 million M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvement project, and following the formal contract award in the spring, the First Minister oversaw start of construction in earnest. When complete, it is estimated that improvements to the M8 will take up to 18 minutes off journeys at daily peak times for vehicles using the busiest sections of the motorway.
In May 2013, bidders were invited to tender for the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project. Advanced ground investigation works on AWPR/B-T are underway and it is anticipated a preferred bidder will be announced later this year.
It is estimated that AWPR/B-T alone will generate over £6 billion additional income for the North East of Scotland (at 2004 prices) and over 14,000 jobs are expected to be generated over the first 30 years after the scheme opens in 2018. AWPR/B-T will cut journey times across Aberdeen by half when complete in Spring 2018.
A9 and A96 Dualling programmes
Successful public exhibitions were held along the A96 in November 2013 attracting nearly 2,000 visitors, complementing exhibitions along the A9 (with nearly 1,000 visitors). These not only informed on the progress of the planning and design, but gathered feedback and key local knowledge informing the design process. Public engagement and working with specific interest groups will play a key part in these major programmes.
Route corridors for the A96 as a whole were displayed along with options for a Nairn Bypass. Work has focused on the development of the section between Inverness and Nairn in light of previous work and will be expanded to the remainder of the route.
Ground works, M8
In April the A9 dualling programme progressed with the award of the first of three large design contracts, each valued at £40-£60 million. This first contract is for dualling over 43km between Glengarry and Dalraddy. Road orders have also been published for the 7.5km section between Kincraig and Dalraddy, south of Aviemore, and the 9km section from Luncarty to Birnam.
Dunragit Bridge, A75
Many of the essential details to be considered in upgrading a route like the A9 have been brought into focus and plans developed. These include provision for non-motorised users, access for walkers, climbers and cyclists as well as a junction strategy to balance the needs of local communities and the travellers.
Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route Map
The environmental aspects of upgrading or forming new route corridors through such iconic Scottish scenery were considered through a Strategic Environmental Statement published for the A9. Balancing the needs of communities, environment, travellers, users and freight as well as delivering a safe, reliable road is essential to deliver the A9 dualling.
Other Significant Milestones
Contract awards were made and construction commenced for the A82 at Pulpit Rock and Crianlarich, the A75 at Dunragit and at Hardgrove to Kinmount, and on the A77 at Symington and Bogend Toll. This represents a total investment of £51.4 million. It is anticipated that all of these projects will open in 2014.
Building on earlier environmental surveys, we are progressing with route option development for the tricky section of the A82 along Loch Lomond between Tarbet and Inverarnan. The scenic importance of the area as well as the terrain presents unique challenges to design and eventual construction.