An appeal against a controversial bypass will be heard by the UK's highest court in less than three months time.
The Scottish Government has welcomed confirmation that the Supreme Court will consider an appeal against the £400 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) in July.
William Walton, chairman of the pressure group Road Sense, is challenging the lawfulness of the decision to approve the bypass and wants the official orders giving the project the green light to be quashed. Earlier this month, Mr Walton confirmed he would be taking his case to the Supreme Court.
Both the Government and its transport agency Transport Scotland had previously indicated their intention to request an expedited hearing in a bid to speed up the process. It was confirmed the case will be heard by the Supreme Court on July 9 and 10.
Transport minister Keith Brown said: "While the latest attempt to delay this vital project is disappointing, we have taken steps to try and make the latest legal process as prompt as possible.
"I would like to stress to all in the north east that we are doing everything in our power to progress the appeal hearing and welcome the decision to hold the next stage of the process in July."
He added: "The AWPR is important for the future prosperity of the north east and Scotland as a whole. It will provide substantial benefits to the economy, increase business and tourism opportunities, improve safety, cut congestion and increase opportunities for improvements in public transport facilities.
"There has been extensive public consultation culminating in a public local inquiry and the Scottish Government's position has been upheld in the Court of Session in August 2011 and again in February 2012.
"As this project has been outstanding for an extensive period of time - having been consented by ministers in December 2009 - our position is that it is in the interests of the public as a whole that this appeal be concluded without further delay."
Mr Walton, who is critical of the cost of building the road and the environmental impact of the scheme, is challenging the Scottish Government's decision. Ministers spent £1.1 million of taxpayers' cash defending his initial challenge, which was dismissed by Lord Tyre before the subsequent appeal was rejected two months ago.