NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

First main part of £745m Aberdeen bypass opens

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Media captionAberdeen bypass opens between Parkhill and Blackdog

The first main section of the new £745m Aberdeen bypass has opened.

The 28-mile route is one of Scotland's biggest infrastructure projects, with a four-mile (7km) stretch opening between Parkhill and Blackdog.

No final date has been given for completion of the entire route, which it is hoped will cut local journey times and ease congestion.

The bypass was given the green light by Scottish ministers in 2009, but was delayed by legal action.

Contractors are currently working towards a completion date of the autumn.

Image copyright Transport Scotland
Image caption The open stretch runs from Parkhill (shown from above)

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "The Parkhill to Blackdog section is the first section of the mainline trunk road to open and is the most substantial section of the project to open to date. It was our intention to open new sections of road as they become available, and we are doing just that.

"The new road will provide thousands of drivers every day with a range of benefits, including reduced journey times, improved journey time reliability, better local access and reduced congestion, while safety will also be enhanced."

'A Godsend'

Delivery driver Bill Alexander told BBC Scotland: "It's great, brilliant, a good road, a lot faster.

"I will be a lot quicker doing the deliveries. It's a Godsend."

The speed limit for the Parkhill and Blackdog section of road is 70mph, with a reduced speed limit on the approach to slip roads at the junctions.

The then First Minister Jack McConnell announced plans in 2003 to build a bypass around Aberdeen.

Finally cleared

The plans were approved by ministers in 2009.

In October 2012, the bypass was finally cleared to proceed after campaigners lost an appeal to the UK's Supreme Court.

Business leaders and several politicians were critical of legal delays to the road, arguing it was vital for the north east of Scotland's economy.

Image caption The bypass is behind schedule

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