MIL-OSI UK: AWPR benefits delight North East drivers and businesses

Source: Scottish Government

Huge journey time reductions and eased congestion on local roads are ‘everything the North East hoped for’ following the opening of the lion’s share of the transformative £745 million project last week.

This was the verdict of business owners and general road users after the Craibstone  Stonehaven and Charleston section opened before last Wednesday’s morning rush hour (December 12).

However, cautious hopes the final 4.5 mile (7.5km) section between Parkhill and Craibstone would open before Christmas have been dashed. Contractor Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL) has this week informed Transport Scotland it will not meet the deadline it set itself at the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee just over a fortnight ago (December 5).

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson warned the same committee meeting to treat ARL’s estimates with caution.

Mr Matheson said: “This week, ARL informed us it was no longer able to meet its own deadline of concluding works at the Don Crossing before Christmas. This is just over a fortnight since it set this deadline publicly in Parliament. I have consistently urged caution and realism about ARL’s ambitious timescales. Unfortunately, as disappointing as this news is, it comes as no surprise to me it has been unable to achieve this.

“We have been here before with ARL. My officials and I will continue to work constructively and offer every assistance to get the remaining 4.5 miles open as soon as possible. I also want to pay tribute to the workforce who have undoubtedly been working hard during this most challenging time of year.

“It is well known that ARL has experienced a series of technical issues during the construction of the Don Crossing.  In order for this Government to protect the public purse, it is imperative that ARL provides the necessary technical and commercial assurances for the Don Crossing. We cannot and will not contemplate releasing payments for this structure without these critical assurances.

In terms of an opening date for this section, although ARL are forecasting January 2019, they have been unable to provide a definitive date.

“More than 85 per cent of the AWPR is now open to traffic and is delivering immediate benefits which the people of the North East are clearly enjoying. I’m thrilled to be seeing story after story of people and businesses seeing substantial improvements to their journey times and reduced congestion across the city. Obviously this is still anecdotal but the road has been performing very well so far. It has been a very vivid demonstration of the transformation that infrastructure can bring about in people’s daily lives, the quality of their environment and the economy as a whole.”

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MIL-OSI UK: New AWPR section to open Wednesday

Source: Scottish Government

The Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston section of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) will open early on the morning of Wednesday 12 December.

This significant new section of road, which includes the A90 between Stonehaven and Craibstone and the A956 between Cleanhill and Charleston, will give north east road users access to around 20 miles (32km) of new road.
 
A phased approach will be used by Police Scotland to open the junctions. Initially starting at Craibstone being open to traffic, with Stonehaven, Charleston, Deeside, Kingswells South and Kingswells North (A90 southbound exit slip road only) following shortly thereafter. Cleanhill Junction, which links the new A90 with the new section of the A956 will also open as part of this process. For safety reasons, there will be no access to the northbound AWPR from Kingswells North until the final section of road is complete.

The contractor has confirmed that it is targeting a December completion date for the River Don Crossing, but that this is subject to a range of factors including weather conditions.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said:

“This new section of road, which will make more than 85 per cent of the project open to traffic, will immediately make a tremendous difference to road users across the north east.

“It will provide thousands of drivers every day with a range of benefits, including improved journey time reliability, better local access and reduced congestion, while safety will also be enhanced. It will also improve air quality and reduce traffic volume in Aberdeen City, making pedestrian and cycle travel around Aberdeen easier, safer and a more enjoyable experience.

“We would like to thank local communities, road users and businesses from across the north east and beyond who have been extremely patient while these works were on-going and discussions were underway regarding the contract variation required for this new section to open.
 
“The full benefits of these works will be realised when the remaining section of the project between Craibstone and Parkhill also opens to traffic. This investment is expected to bring in an additional £6 billion to the north east economy and create around 14,000 jobs over the next 30 years.”

A route for traffic travelling between Craibstone and Parkhill has been agreed with the local road authorities, which will be in place until the works at the River Don Crossing are complete and this remaining section opens to traffic. Road users should travel east from Craibstone using the A96, then northbound onto the A92 until they reach Blackdog Junction where they can re-join the AWPR to Parkhill or continue north on the new A90 Balmedie to Tipperty section. The reverse journey should be used for those wishing to travel south to Craibstone.

New permanent traffic signals at Stonehaven, Charleston, Deeside, Kingswells and Craibstone will become operational overnight before the new sections open to road users. The traffic signals will be monitored to ensure the junctions are operating as anticipated, and there may be a requirement to alter the timings of the signals until the optimum phasing are achieved.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, Councillor Douglas Lumsden said:

“We are pleased this important section of the AWPR/B-T is now ready to open, it is a significant step forward.

“Aberdeen City Council is investing £75 million in the project as part of our Regional Economic Strategy and £1 billion of investment in the city, and we believe it will bring huge benefits to Aberdeen by enabling faster journey times for commuters and help us to unlock the economic potential of the wider north-east region.”

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Jim Gifford added: “These new sections of the AWPR will quickly become essential routes for the many people who live and work in the area, as well as those coming to visit the north east of Scotland.

“Aberdeenshire Council has invested £75million in the delivery of this project and I am pleased to see us reach this stage of the development.

“I would encourage everybody to take time to familiarise themselves with the new sections to see how they might benefit from the various improvements they will bring in terms of journey times, local access and reduced congestion.”

Steve Szalay, Managing Director, Aberdeen International Airport, said:

“The opening of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is a key milestone in the development of the north-east region.  As an airport, we are excited to welcome a new audience from the north and south of the city to our revitalised terminal, as our transformation project enters the final phase.

“Other large scale projects like the Aberdeen Harbour expansion, the development of The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) arena and our own investment at the airport culminates in a tangible excitement that is felt around the city. This huge piece of infrastructure heralds a bold new chapter in our city’s, and the surrounding region’s, bright future.”

These new sections follow road openings between Balmedie and Tipperty, in August 2018, Parkhill and Blackdog, in June 2018, and the Craibstone Roundabout and Dyce Drive section, in September 2016.

Notes

1. The northbound slip-road at Kingswells North will remain closed until the final section of the AWPR project opens to traffic due to the temporary traffic management measures that are required to guide all northbound traffic safely off of the A90 at Craibstone Junction. These traffic management measures will begin in the vicinity of the northbound carriageway at North Kingswells Junction. Traffic travelling southbound on the AWPR will, however, be able to exit at the Kingswells North Junction.  To join the AWPR northbound to Craibstone, road users should travel to the Kingswells South Junction or continue to use existing routes which are expected to be quieter.

2. As well as constructing the new trunk road, the contractor has also built over 25 miles (40km) of side roads and 18.5 miles (30km) of access roads.  These are now largely open for use.

3.The national speed limit will apply on the AWPR, with reduced speed limits on slip roads as per usual practice. For operational and maintenance purposes, some works may be required after the section opens and therefore the relevant road order enables the speed limit to be reduced to 50mph or 40mph, where appropriate.

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