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Bridge over new Aberdeen bypass - home to forthcoming "worst cycling event ever" - described as "lethal" for cyclists and walkers

People using popular Deeside Way now have to ride 30 metres into oncoming traffic after changes to road layout

Cyclists on a heavily used off-road commuting and leisure route in Aberdeen are having to cycle into the path of oncoming traffic where it meets a bridge over the city’s new £745 million bypass – because Transport Scotland apparently forgot to stipulate making provision for cyclists’ needs when putting the contract out to tender.

The bypass, officially the Western Peripheral Route, was featured on road.cc last week when we posed the question, Is this the worst cycling event ever? The event in question, prior to the road being opened to motor traffic(cyclists will be banned) is a 'festival' that people won't be able to take their own bikes to, and will be shuttled in and out by bus.

Now a more serious issue has emerged. Previously, people using The Deeside Way, part of the National Cycle Network and hugely popular with people commuting by bike to and from their workplaces in the city, as well as with cyclists, walkers and horse riders, could cross the B979 Milltimber to Maryculter road easily and safely.

However, reconfiguration of the road layout to construct the bridge over the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), which opens next month, means that cyclists have to ride into the path of oncoming traffic on a 30 metre section of the road.

Cyclist Carl Gerrard, who lives in nearby Culter alerted road.cc to the issue after reading our article about the ‘festival’.

> Is this the worst cycling event ever?

The problem is highlighted in the drawing above, used by the managing agent during a public consultation in 2014, and supplied to road.cc with annotations by Carl.

The red line shows the route of thee Deeside Way and a proposed pavement on the west side of the B979,  which Carl says was discussed with engineers during the consultation meeting but not forming part of the final plans.

He told us that despite the efforts of local campaigners, neither Aberdeen City Council nor Transport Scotland had taken action. Speaking to the Press & Journal, he described the current layout as “lethal” and outlined  the problems riders are now encountering.

He said: “The AWPR is costing £745 million and is dozens of miles long, but for the sake of building an extra 30 metres of path, people’s lives are being put in danger every day.

“I cycle on the Deeside Way every day to work in Tullos. Although as an able-bodied adult I’m able to launch myself over the crossing pretty swiftly, for more vulnerable users and children it’s just a safety nightmare.”

Local MSP Maureen Watt has urged Transport Scotland to remedy the situation. She said:  “Many of my constituents are concerned about the apparent lack of planning for a footpath linking the Milltimber Brae Overbridge to the Deeside Way in the vicinity of the new AWPR.

“Having raised these concerns with Transport Scotland in June, they assured me that although the original planning process did not include a footpath, it was subsequently recognised it would be a necessity.”

Transport Scotland has confirmed it intends to address the issue, with a spokesman saying: “Plans are being progressed to fully reinstate the crossing point on the Deeside Way where it meets the B979. This work will be carried out at the earliest opportunity.”

That cannot come quickly enough for those who have to cross the road on bike or foot, with Carl saying: “With the speed that cars go up and down this road, it really is just a lethal situation.

“It’s horrible and I think that unless this is fixed something terrible could very well happen.”

He also had an answer to the question we posed in the headline of our earlier article, “Is this the worst cycling event ever?”

“Yes!” he said.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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9 comments

Avatar
chrisdstripes | 5 years ago
0 likes

This is really shitty, thanks for reporting on it.

Also - I'm happy to proof-read for some sweets  3

Avatar
burtthebike replied to chrisdstripes | 5 years ago
1 like

chrisdstripes wrote:

This is really shitty, thanks for reporting on it.

Also - I'm happy to proof-read for some sweets  3

You missed the compulsory apostrophe in sweets; sweet's.

Avatar
vonhelmet | 5 years ago
3 likes

Yeah, I swear they just throw in £100k for cycling provision knowing it’ll get used for corporate lunches or somesuch, even as the whole project goes three times over budget.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes

Same old, 'oh we forgot', bullshit, there's no oversight, this is deliberate in the hope that no-one kicks up a fuss.

The number of bypass roads that have cut off routes and nothing put in place aside from ridiclously dangerous crossings that are all but impossible to cross for all but the fittest/agile is massive and a national disgrace!

Wankers

Avatar
burtthebike replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Same old, 'oh we forgot', bullshit, there's no oversight, this is deliberate in the hope that no-one kicks up a fuss.

The number of bypass roads that have cut off routes and nothing put in place aside from ridiclously dangerous crossings that are all but impossible to cross for all but the fittest/agile is massive and a national disgrace!

Wankers

A parliamentary meeting about cycling provision along the route of HS2 showed me that MPs just don’t get it.

https://www.citymetric.com/transport/parliamentary-meeting-cycling-provi...

Avatar
dodpeters | 5 years ago
2 likes

Why is it that cities which are plagued by traffic congestion are so keen to make getting into, or out of, the city by bike so difficult?

Avatar
morgoth985 replied to dodpeters | 5 years ago
0 likes

dodpeters wrote:

Why is it that cities which are plagued by traffic congestion are so keen to make getting into, or out of, the city by bike so difficult?

Cause and effect the other way around.

Avatar
burtthebike | 5 years ago
7 likes

This is far too often, almost always in fact, the situation when any new road development or re-engineering is done; cyclists and pedestrians are ignored until the very last minute and then shoddy facilities are provided, shoe-horned in rather that being part of the design from the outset.

Almost all the local authorities which are responsible for these schemes have extremely good, pro-cycling and walking policies, but they never carry them out, my own, South Gloucestershire, being one.  It doesn't matter how many times they are told, sometimes extremely forcefully, that they aren't following their own policies, they do it again and again and again ad infinitum.  They also say ad infinitum, that they've learned the lesson, it'll never happen again, everyone in the council is fully committed to cycling, it's completely embedded in the council from top to bottom, but they are lying.

They get away with it because not enough people are like me, taking the time to go to council meetings, raising petitions, hassling councillors, taking them to the ombudsman, so they don't care.  I've said it before, but if you want things to change, get involved, sign up to your local campaign group and a national group like Cyling UK, and do something other than whinging on here.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn | 5 years ago
4 likes

I know that location - it can be a busy road and may become busier once the AWPR opens. Not having a simple, safe crossing for the - also popular, including with children and the disabled - Deeside railway path is a serious oversight IMO.

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