The delayed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is now expected to open in December, according to Scotland’s cabinet secretary for transport Michael Matheson.

Legal issues, protests, weather conditions and technical problems, as well as the collapse of contractor Carillion, have caused the Aberdeen bypass road scheme to already miss several completion deadlines.

Approved in 2009, the 45km Aberdeen bypass has three parts. In June, the first main bypass section between Parkhill and Blackdog opened.

The second section between Balmedie to Tipperty opened to traffic in August.

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Speaking to the Scottish Parliament, Matheson confirmed that discussions have taken place to open the third section, a 31.5km stretch from Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston.

Matheson said that there is a need for a change to the original contract, which the contractor is yet to agree to.

“We will continue to work closely with the AWPR contractor to ensure everything that can reasonably be done is being done.”

He called for an urgent meeting with contractors’ board members to seek clarity on the timescales for opening the remaining sections of the AWPR.

According to Matheson, the problems at the new River Don Crossing are more extensive than originally believed, but repairs will not incur extra costs to the government.

“The contractor is working hard to repair the defects and earlier this week it reported it was targeting a December opening date. However, it is not possible to provide a definitive date as there are a number of factors which could influence it including technical issues and other physical factors such as weather.

“We will continue to work closely with the AWPR contractor to ensure everything that can reasonably be done is being done, and we will provide a definitive date for the opening of this section as soon as possible.”

The Aberdeen bypass is a major £745m infrastructure project aimed at considerably improving travel in north-east Scotland.