Graduate engineer Callum Murdoch joined Transport Minister Keith Brown to kick off essential ground investigations for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) today.
Callum, 27, has moved to Aberdeen as part of a team which will spend up to five years working on the AWPR. By carrying out these supplementary ground investigations, those involved will gain valuable knowledge that underpins the final scheme delivery.
The £1 million contract for these works was recently awarded to Soil Engineering Ltd and will take up to six months to carry out. The findings will give potential bidders the information needed to submit their tenders for the main works contract which will issue in spring next year.
The project itself is expected to generate 14,000 jobs and around £6 billion investment in the North east over the next 30 years.
Mr Brown said:
“The Scottish Government has already signalled its commitment to crack on and build the AWPR / Balmedie-Tipperty project following the conclusion of the long-running legal challenge last month.
“Just one month on and we have already informed the construction industry tenders for the main works will be issued in spring next year. Now, with the award of this contract, we are hitting the ground running and providing tangible evidence of our ability to deliver this much-needed project for the north east.
“It is important that projects like AWPR can provide real employment opportunities and offer graduates like Callum a solid career foundation. The AWPR has clear benefits in terms of the jobs it will create and the investment it will attract.
“It is estimated that during construction it will create up to 900 jobs directly, with the potential to generate many more for the local supply chain and subcontracts. On completion it will cut the journey across Aberdeen by up to half at peak periods, bringing with this not only jobs but reduced costs and opportunities for increased sales to businesses.
“That is why we continue to make record levels of investment in transport projects right across Scotland, including the North East. With increased funding we could deliver even more.”
A graduate of the University of Glasgow, engineering geologist Callum is working towards securing his chartership at Jacobs. He has previously been involved in the Glendoe recovery project, as well as his work on the AWPR.
"It’s a major and exciting project, and from my point of view a brilliant one for moving towards my chartership, and working on the AWPR gives me a huge range of site experience.
"From these ground investigations we then go on to the advanced works such as ecological mitigation projects. Moving into the road construction phase there are earthworks and cuttings - the project covers so many aspects of my role.
"One of my main roles is landowner liaison, so my communication skills are being tested too - there is so much to the AWPR project, it really is brilliant for me in terms of developing my career."
Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Barney Crockett said:
"I'm delighted to see that work is getting under way so quickly. It's a huge encouragement for the people of the North-east to see things start moving.
"Aberdeen City Council is the managing agent for the scheme and we are determined to get it up and running as quickly as possible. This council has a very good project management record and I am confident that the AWPR will be run as smoothly as some of our other major projects, including the refurbishment of Marischal College.
"A lot of preparatory work has to be carried out before construction can begin, but I think we can all take this as a good sign that we are on the way to realising our ambition of a greatly improved infrastructure system."
Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Cllr Jim Gifford said:
"After many years of debate and delay, I'm delighted to see work starting on the AWPR. This is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the UK at this time and I'm pleased to see that agencies have wasted no time in making a start on the investigation works.
“It sends a strong message to the communities of Aberdeenshire that now all the barriers have been removed, our focus is on seeing progress as quickly as possible."
It is anticipated that work will get underway in autumn 2014 with completion expected in spring 2018.
The construction contract will stipulate that all job opportunities must be advertised through local job centres and all sub contracts to be tendered must be advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland web portal. As with other major contracts, minimum requirements will be set for apprentices, graduate trainees and jobs, securing wider benefits for the local community.
More details on the AWPR / Balmedie-Tipperty project can be found at: http://www.awpr.co.uk/