Aberdeen bypass slashes lorry traffic in city, says report on first anniversary

A stretch of the Aberdeen bypass near Milltimber

Lorry traffic has more than halved in parts of Aberdeen since the opening of the bypass a year ago, according to a new report. The GBP750 million road was fully opened to traffic on February 19 and one of the aims was to encourage heavy goods vehicles away from the local road network. Now statistics released on the first anniversary of the opening show how successful the new route has been for reducing congestion.

HGV traffic travelling along the A92 corridor through Aberdeen reduced by between 49% and 61% from January to June last year compared with the same six months in 2014. Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The benefits of the project are plain for everyone to see, enhancing the quality of life for tens of thousands of people. “It is clear from the reduction in the proportion of HGVs on the A92 that businesses are benefitting from the option of a faster and more reliable route to and from the north-east.”

The Granite City has long had problems with air pollution from large volumes of cars, vans and lorries travelling through built-up areas. Aberdeen City Council hopes to solve this issue by introducing low emission zones throughout the region.

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Local authority co-leader Douglas Lumsden added: “The premise of the city centre as a destination rather than a thoroughfare will become far more appealing and the city council is supporting that with developments which are bringing positive change to Aberdeen’s traditional heart.” Previous data published in November revealed the AWPR had reduced city centre traffic by 50% and key journey times had been reduced to half through the 36-mile AWPR route between Stonehaven and south of Ellon.

Martin Reid, director of the Road Haulage Association, said: “The AWPR allows road freight to keep moving, avoiding the bottlenecks that were all too familiar on the old A90. “There is also little doubt the reduction in traffic congestion will have a positive effect on air quality and quality of life in general for the residents who live along the old route. The AWPR is delivering what we all hoped it would; improving journey times and reducing congestion, meaning businesses can be more certain in terms of delivery times and costs.”

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Luke Bosdet, spokesman for AA, said: “The success of this project has showed what good planning and investment can do to achieve a major improvement on traffic in the city centre.

“It would be interesting to see whether there has been an improvement in air quality in Aberdeen.” Stonehaven businesses have also seen increased footfall. Calum Richardson, director of Bay Fish and Chips in the town, said: “The AWPR has massively increased the accessibility of both Stonehaven and the north-east, which has been hugely beneficial to us as a business.

“Since it opened we’ve seen customers who visited once a month starting to come every week as it’s been so easy to get here.

“I know from speaking to our neighbouring businesses that there’s been a marked uplift in trade for everyone, so we’d say it’s been a big success.”