The Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try joint venture building the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) has missed its latest deadline for completion.
Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said the Aberdeen Roads Limited JV (ARL) has told him that it will not meet the deadline to finish the last 7.2 km section of the £745m project.
A stretch between Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston opened last Wednesday. But the final section between Parkhill and Craibstone will not open before Christmas, owing to problems with the crossing over the River Don.
In a statement Mr Matheson said payments to the JV would be witheld until “technical and commercial assurances” had been provided regarding the crossing.
He said: “It is well known that ARL has experienced a series of technical issues during the construction of the Don Crossing.
“In order for this government to protect the public purse, it is imperative that ARL provides the necessary technical and commercial assurances for the Don Crossing.”
The latest estimate is for an opening at some point in January, but the minister said he is treating that assurance with “caution”.
“I have consistently urged caution and realism about ARL’s ambitious timescales. Unfortunately, as disappointing as this news is, it comes as no surprise to me it has been unable to achieve this,” he said.
The project, originally scheduled to complete in spring 2017, has been hit by a number of issues including a harsh winter, the collapse of JV partner Carillion and an investigation by Construction News uncovered allegations of serious health and safety issues on the project.
Balfour Beatty revealed in August that it lost £23m on the AWPR in the first six months of 2018, as the completion date slipped back.
This week Galliford Try said they were unable to comment directly due to the partnering nature of the project.
Balfour Beatty has been contacted for comment.