Where is it?
The place where the Edinburgh to Fraserburgh trunk route, the A90, is also serving as a bypass for central Aberdeen. Here it crosses the river Dee, and connects with two busy radial routes from the city centre.
It was spotted by Gerry McKenna.
What's wrong with it?
Basically we have a ring road, bypass and cross-country national trunk route all in one that is heaving with traffic and is, to say the least, busy as it passes through the suburbs of Aberdeen. Here, all its traffic, plus lots of local traffic and those coming in and out of the city, negotiates two roundabouts.
But connecting the two roundabouts is one very narrow single carriageway road — the footpaths are barely wide enough for two people to pass, and the road not much wider. I don't think I need to elaborate on the kind of traffic problems this causes. Add to this a mile-long detour for HGVs, literally via the A945 and B9077, and the fact that recently two new supermarkets opened up adjacent to these roundabouts and you're starting to get the picture.
Why is it wrong?
The ring road around Aberdeen is mostly new-build, and of a similar age to the suburbs around it. Here though, it uses an existing bridge to cross the river — the Bridge of Dee, which is a modest 400 years old. Built up on both sides, and impossible to remove or alter, the road is squeezed through two narrow lanes for a few hundred yards on what must be one of its busiest sections.
What would be better?
That's a tricky one. Maybe it would be possible to build a new bridge right alongside the existing one, but if it was as easy as that, perhaps that would have been done in the 70 or so years that the road has looked this way. Fortunately, the new A90 bypass of Aberdeen, keeping well clear of the city, should remove most through traffic from the ring road and ease this bottleneck somewhat.
Right to reply
The Bridge of Dee Junction is appalling. It's frightening to think that this is the main trunk road from Edinburgh to the North East of Scotland, among other things it is a busy route carrying all the freight for both the North Sea Oil and Fish industries.
The Scottish Executive refuse to do anything with this junction as they are planning the Aberdeen Bypass, commonly referred to as the Western Peripheral Route, which in itself is a pointless name as an eastern route is impossible thanks to the North Sea. Aberdeen City Council cannot do anything with the junction as it is part of the A90 so falls under Scottish Executive control until the bypass is built.
The main problem with this junction is not actually the bridge; I think it is the close proximity of the two roundabouts at either end of the bridge. The northern roundabout is next to a newly expanded Asda Wal-Mart Superstore, Boots, Currys, B&Q Warehouse, Sainsbury's (expanding to compete with ASDA) and a dry ski slope. It is also the main access route to the local area of Garthdee and Robert Gordon's University Campus. Aberdeen City Council have a knack of placing pedestrian crossings about 20 yards from the exit of roundabouts, and they have done this on every exit from both of these too. This means that one pedestrian can cause the whole roundabout to lock up. Add to this the 10 buses an hour that cross the northern roundabout between Garthdee Road and Holburn Street (A945), you have one hell of a mix up.
My suggestion would be a second bridge alongside the existing one. There is plenty of room on either side - I would opt to flatten the 'Gillies Lair' bar as the food and service is terrible. Secondly I would remove both of the roundabouts and replace them with traffic lights that allow each direction to go separately.
According to a civil engineer friend who comes from Aberdeen, one reason why it would be very difficult to do anything about the Brig o'Dee is that it is listed (I think he said it was grade I). This means that not only is the bridge protected, but so is the view of it from the surrounding area, and building an adjacent bridge without obstructing views of the listed bridge could be rather a challenge.
Aberdeen City Council have published their proposals for "Access from the South", comprising three possible options to help reduce congestion at the Bridge of Dee. Two of the options involve a new upstream dual carriageway crossing between Garthdee and the B9077, with a link road back to the current A90. The other option involves a new dual 6-lane bridge next to the Bridge of Dee (with the old bridge being closed to motorised users), and the replacement of the roundabout with the council's favourite solution, traffic lights. A public consultation was held in summer 2016; it'll be interesting to see what comes back from it and whether the plans receive a go-ahead. Inevitably there will no doubt be challenges to the plans on environmental grounds...
The junction should hopefully become a little less busy once the AWPR opens late next year, but it's still a major bottleneck on what will always be an important route through Aberdeen, so it's good to see that some proposals are in place.
More information: Access from the South