Transport minister Nicol Stephen joined Kate Dean, leader of Aberdeen City Council, and Alison McInnes, chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee, at the Bridge of Don to make the announcement and unveil a new websitewhich will provide detailed information throughout the various stages of the project.
The minister said the new route would bring environmental, economic and safety benefits to north-east Scotland, providing better access to the area.
These benefits would include:
Mr Stephen said that the announcement, 'is a key stage in delivering this important £120m project. It is clear evidence that we are on track to deliver this major commitment to the north-east.
'The new route will improve safety and help reduce congestion and pollution. It will provide better business opportunities through improved access to the north-east. By reducing road congestion the route will allow for better access to park and ride facilities, improved bus services and better cycling routes in and around Aberdeen.
'This winter work will begin on the detailed line of the route with property owners being consulted. A public consultation on the proposed route will begin next autumn. Once the route is confirmed it is hoped work will start by 2007 and be on track for completion in 2010.
'The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will be central to a modern integrated transport system for the north east of Scotland. We are working in partnership with the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils to fund the road and bring the project forward. We are also working in association with NESTRANS on the new route, which will help to connect communities in and around Aberdeen.'
The proposed timetable for the AWPR is:
Winter 2003/04 - aerial survey and ground investigation of road
Spring/Summer 2004 - landowner consultations on design works
Autumn 2004 - public consultation
Spring 2005 - confirm planned route of new road
2006-07 - Invite tenders, award contracts and start construction.
2010 - Construction complete and new A90 opens to traffic
NESTRANS is the regional transport partnership for the north-east of Scotland which is made up of the Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Enterprise Grampian and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce. The 'Modern Transport System' is the regional transport strategy developed by NESTRANS with financial support from the Executive.