Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson and North East MSP Christian Allard have hailed an £8million agreement of pre-start works as an important step forward in the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and Balmedie to Tipperty project.
Transport Minister Keith Brown announced that preferred bidder Connect Roads would begin preparatory.
The agreement, which is worth around £8million, signals the start of further design work and the start of fencing, environment surveys and ground investigations before the start of the main works contract.
Connect Roads, a consortium of Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try (Morrison Construction) and Carillion, were announced as the preferred bidder for the project earlier this year.
Mr Salmond said: “This important project will improve journey times and reduce congestion for commuters and businesses alike – especially when looked at alongside the significant upgrade to the A96 at Inveramsay – also underway – and the commitment to dual the A96 from Aberdeen to Inverness.
“I am delighted that we are a step closer to seeing the route take shape.”
Mr Robertson said: “I, like many others, look forward to the full roll out of the improvements programme which will enhance our local road infrastructure.”
Over the next three decades, the investment in this project is expected to bring in an additional £6 billion to the local economy and create around 14,000 new jobs.
During construction, benefits similar in scale to the M74 scheme are expected, which directly supported 900 construction jobs at its peak.
The AWPR/B-T project will also provide on-the-job training for apprentices and local employment opportunities.
Mr Allard added: “People in the north-east of Scotland have waited years for improvements to the infrastructure network and pre-start work is a vital stage of the project.
“I am thrilled that this project has taken such an important step forward.”