Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T)

The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty project is a major transport infrastructure project at the heart of the Scottish Government’s commitment to improve transport in Aberdeen and across the North East of Scotland. It involves the construction of a new 58km road which is expected to be fully open by winter 2017. 

Customer Name

AWPR Construction Joint Venture, which includes Balfour Beatty, Morrison Construction and Carillion

Project Location



Overall job valued at £745 million


24 months

The new route consists of four sections - Balmedie to Tipperty (12km from Blackdog to Tipperty), the Northern Leg (16.1km from North Kingswells to Blackdog), the Southern Leg (18.7km from Charleston to North Kingswells) and the Fastlink (11.5km from Stonehaven to Cleanhill). Once open, the new road is expected to carry more than 43,000 vehicles each day through its busiest sections.

There are 75 Primary Structures throughout the whole project, with two (PS15 and PS46) major crossings, the River Dee in the South and the River Don in the North. There are also several Secondary Structures throughout the whole project which involve the installation of pre-cast culverts, manholes and other waterway structures.

Leada Acrow met with the design and construction team in June 2014 and were subsequently invited to tender for several structures within various areas of the project.

The Challenge

This has been a highly challenging project. The contract has been split into three main sections - South, Central and North - and the two main crossings are being dealt with as contracts on their own.

The major challenge was the concrete finish specified by both the client and Transport Scotland, along with funding partners Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The finish specified on all primary structures was of a full plywood sheet, bound by a horizontal and vertical recess with four tie holes through the sheet, one in each corner. Several attempts had already been made before Leada Acrow’s Chief Technical Engineer devised a solution which was readily accepted. The finish changed slightly over the following months, with tweaks and finalising of the setting out of the feature and Leada Acrow equipment was easily able to accommodate the amended sizes.

The Solution

Leada Acrow’s formwork solution utilised the company’s Super A-Beam system and Slimlite Soldiers to achieve a shutter which could withstand a pour pressure of 100kN/m2 whilst achieving the specified concrete finish. The over-riding factor on the design was the span of the Super A-Beams, but this was overcome by closing the centres to an absolute minimum. The Slimlite Soldiers were set out in accordance with the ties and the ties were inserted where required. Due to the positioning of the ties, not all needed to be used, however site are planning to use all of the tie holes to ensure the finish of the poured concrete.

The Results 

Following the initial tender process, Leada Acrow received enquiries from all sections of the project, as the Leada Acrow solution was the only one (from several considered from other formwork companies) that achieved the desired finish without the need to move ties or re-size sheets. So far, the Leada Acrow formwork solution has been used on all 41 Primary Structures on the Northern Leg of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty project. Leada Acrow was appointed the sole formwork supplier on the Northern Leg.

Work has also taken place on the central section e.g., whereby Leada Acrow’s formwork solution has been used for Primary Structure 23; this differed from the Northern structures, as different means of putting the ties through the shutters were employed.

Once open, the new road will help to reduce congestion in and around Aberdeen and the north east of Scotland, cut journey times, improve safety, lower pollution and enable public transport to be developed.

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