Derek Murray and Rob Galbraith took time out from a series of consultation roadshows on the routeing of the AWPR to talk to a packed audience in the Westburn Lounge of ICE, CILT, IHT and RTPI members. Consultation packs were provided, including maps and details of the proposals.
Derek Murray started the presentation by outlining the history of the AWPR and how it fits into the Modern Transport System promoted by the North East Scotland Transport Agency. He stated that the AWPR has the potential to:
- reduce the impact of traffic on Aberdeen city centre roads by up to 16%,
- cater for industrial movements, e.g. from Altens to Dyce
- provide access to proposed rail transfer depots to the south and north of the city
- provide access to future industrial estates and Park & Ride sites
- improve links to surrounding towns
- facilitate improved priorities on radial routes crossing Anderson Drive, and
- provide opportunities for additional bus priority measures and cycling routes.
The AWPR will be a dualled trunk road, funded jointly by the Scottish Executive (81%), Aberdeen City Council (9.5%) and Aberdeenshire Council (9.5%). If the preferred route is adopted, the road is scheduled to open in 2010. However, the Scottish Executive has asked for for a review of routes, hence the consultation exercise being carried out at the time of writing. Under the review, the project team is looking at the impacts of different routes on local landowners and residents, and a number of minor variations are proposed to mitigate local concern. Of particular concern is the routeing in the Murtle area, which impinges on the Camphill Campus for people with learning disabilities; this being the subject of a campaign of objection. A modelling exercise has been carried out, and Derek used a computer model to demonstrate the visual impact of the road on the Camphill Campus. This showed that the road will have little visual impact for Camphill as it will be "dug in" at a lower level than the campus. Althought not apparent from the model, Derek gave assurances that noise levels from the road would be low. A "medical assessment" of the highly contentious Camphill route section was carried out by Professor Hogg of Dundee University, and this is available on the AWPR website.
Rob Galbraith spoke about the engineering challenges of the project, starting with a number of constraints that the project faces. Environmenal issues include the Camphill Campus (including an organic farm), the Rivers Dee and Don, listed buildings including Blairs College, archaeological sites, and SSSIs. He also outlined the constraints placed by utilities in the area, such as power lines. A number of alternative routeings have been tested on different sections along the AWPR corridor, in order to minimise the impact on properties and environmental sites. Work has also been carried out to refine road traffic junctions along the route. A survey of ground conditions was carried out, revealing higher than expected rock levels. An aesthetic team is looking at the proposed bridges along the route, and comparing various solutions, considering the visual impact and the cost.
The evening was concluded with a virtual tour along the route at helicopter height. Further information is available on the AWPR website: www.awpr.co.uk
Report by Marion Mackay.
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