Around 50% of traffic has shifted from Aberdeen city onto the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route since it fully opened in February – easing congestion and improving air quality in the north east.
Initial monitoring by Transport Scotland also found key journey times have been reduced by half, even during rush hour, through the 36-mile AWPR route between Stonehaven and south of Ellon.
In a speech to north-east business leaders First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the economic benefits of the £745 million project. She said:
“The AWPR has brought huge benefits to the north-east with these initial findings showing both journey times and congestion have improved over the last few months. Its success is a clear sign that the north-east is an attractive place to work and do business. It is expected to generate an extra £6 billion in economic benefits and create around 14,000 jobs over the next 30 years.
“As a result of the AWPR, vehicles that were previously sitting in nose-to-tail traffic and causing pollution have now shifted, leading to lower emissions in the city. This has the potential to improve air quality for around 75,000 homes and will improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists in Aberdeen city.
“The AWPR is also enhancing public transport connections by providing better local access and more reliable services, showing the immense transformation that infrastructure can bring to people’s daily lives, the quality of their environment and the economy as a whole.”
Personally this new road has meant a huge difference to us. Travelling to the central belt has meant either going through Aberdeen before heading southward or travelling across to Aviemore and using the A9. Work has recently started on the next section of dualling of the A9 so this means hold ups will arise.
Last weekend we were in Stirling for the Scots Independent board meeting. Usually this means staying over on the Sunday night and travelling on the Monday morning. This time, with the summer evenings here, we decided to try heading home after the meeting. We managed to get home by back of 6 and still had the evening to ourselves. We would not have entertained this if we had had to go through Aberdeen. All the stopping and starting at traffic lights and roundabouts is very tiring when you have already been driving a few hours.
We have also had cause to attend the ARI rather a lot recently. Getting through the town is much quicker than it used to be.
The downside though is that we now look forward to the dualling of the A96. Getting through Nairn is murder. When farmers are busy out and about the other drivers get very frustrated. Wonder if we will ever get the benefit of this new road?