A new bus priority route in Aberdeen’s city centre is due to go live tomorrow after roadworks for it and Scottish Gas Networks works on Union Terrace and emergency Scottish Water works at the bridge on South College Street have been completed.
The new road layout will help to reduce travel times for buses in the city centre which will in turn encourage more people to use sustainable or active travel, which is one of the goals of the City Centre Masterplan.
Bicycles, taxis, and goods vehicles will also be able to access the bus priority route.
Access to the Trinity Centre car park and roads adjacent to the restrictions will be maintained.
Scottish Water is working to finish emergency repairs under the bridge on South College Street by 8am tomorrow and the new bus priority route will go live after then. The Scottish Gas Network work on Union Terrace has already finished.
The bus priority route will minimise the amount of general traffic on Market Street (north of Guild Street), Guild Street (east of Wapping Street), and Bridge Street by stopping traffic from using these streets as through-routes.
The B983 (Denburn Road, Wapping Street, College Street, South College Street), Palmerston Place, the A956 (North Esplanade West, Market Street, Trinity Quay, Virginia Street and Commerce Street) will provide alternative routes for general traffic that previously used the roads where bus priority measures will be established.
The new South College Street junction improvements, which received £10million of Scottish Government funding, were delivered to provide extra capacity for general traffic and an alternative route ahead of the new bus priority route being introduced.
As part of the works for the new bus priority route, additional bus gates and lanes are being created on Union Street/Market Street (between its junctions with Hadden St and the Adelphi), the east side of Guild Street, and on Bridge Street.
There will also be a ban on turning right from Union Terrace to Rosemount Viaduct (except for buses, taxis, and cycles), and Schoolhill/Upperkirkgate will remain a pedestrian and cycle zone from Back Wynd to Flourmill Lane, with motor vehicle access only permitted for loading from 4.30pm to 11am.
The bus priority route was agreed at a meeting of the Full Council last June (2022) as part of the City Centre Masterplan to encourage sustainable and active travel in the city centre.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The new road layout will help to reduce travel times for buses in the city centre so will be a boost to bus passengers travelling from the city and further afield.
“We want to encourage people to walk, cycle or take public transport where they can and being so they will help have a positive impact on lowering emissions in our city centre.
“We realise it may take a little time for people to become familiar with the new road layout and we appreciate their patience meantime.”
Temporary electronic vehicle signs are being positioned in several places to give motorists advanced warning of the new layout in conjunction with new road signs. People should check bus operators’ websites for how the bus priority route affects services and routes.
Statutory stakeholders including emergency services have already been informed of the road layout changes which are being achieved through an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
A six-month-long public consultation as part of the ETRO has started and people can take part in the consultation which is on the City Council’s website at https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/operations/citycentre-experimental-tro-2023/