Transport Scotland tells Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try not to pursue ‘misguided commercial tactics’


Transport Scotland has taken a swipe at Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, cautioning the contractors against using the delivery of the last section of the Aberdeen bypass as leverage to make a grab for taxpayer money.

It comes as the contractors proceed with a claim against Transport Scotland in relation to 300-plus utility diversions they had to carry out. The contractors argue the utility firms should be responsible for the works, which included sorting out electricity cables, water pipes and telecoms.  

In a sign relations between the contractors and client are continuing to sour, a spokesperson for Transport Scotland has now said: “It is important that Aberdeen Roads do not view completing the Don as a further-misguided opportunity to pursue commercial tactics.”

Last month Conservative MSP Peter Chapman asked representatives of the contractors whether they had held back from opening a completed stretch of the bypass as leverage for compensation – a suggestion which they strenuously denied.

Now Transport Scotland has also warned Aberdeen Roads that the bridge has to be completed to a high standard, with the spokesperson saying: “All repairs at the Don Cross will be subjected to rigorous independent challenge by Transport Scotland’s technical advisers and by an independent engineering company.”

He added: “We continue to work closely with Aberdeen Roads to determine a definitive date for opening this final section as soon as possible.”

In December executives from Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try told the Scottish parliament they would finish the bypass by Christmas, despite the fact Balfour boss Leo Quinn had shared doubts about their ability to deliver it in 2018.

The JV vehicle Aberdeen Roads has since committed to opening the final section of the bypass this month, as it scrambles to finish the 300m-long bridge crossing the River Don.

The bridge was delayed after cracks appeared underneath the deck in May 2018. This has forced Aberdeen Roads to undertake repair work, breaking out concrete sections of the bridge around improperly aligned ducts.

Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try declined to comment.