Contractors working on the new £333million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre were forced to take action last night to spare commuters misery on their run home.
Hundreds of motorists were caught up in tailbacks as they headed into Aberdeen yesterday morning, due to the closure of Dyce Drive.
The busy road has closed for two weeks, between its junction with Wellheads Drive and the A96 Aberdeen to Inverurie road, while work on the AECC progresses.
Some drivers were spent more than an hour getting from one side of the traffic jam to the other – with reports that traffic stretched from Dyce Drive to beyond Murdos roundabout on North Anderson Drive – while buses were delayed by up to 40 minutes as they tried to get to the Haudagain roundabout.
Questions were raised over why the closure could not have taken place during the upcoming school holidays.
And last night, in a desperate attempt to avoid the lengthy queues, the Robertson Group – the main contractor behind the AECC – made the decision to alter the traffic lights in the area to help motorists get through the congestion.
It had been claimed by one frustrated motorist that the lights at the A96 junction were changing every eight seconds during the morning rush.
Joe McMenamin, project director for Robertson said: “We appreciate road users’ frustration and apologise for the inconvenience caused.
“The roadworks are necessary as part of the ongoing AECC construction programme and are scheduled to last for two weeks.
“Our roads team is closely monitoring the situation and adjustments have been made to the traffic light system which should improve the flow of traffic.
“However, delays are still possible and we would advise motorists to seek alternative routes when travelling to the airport.”
Access to the airport is still possible from Dyce Drive, and the link roads at Craibstone and Wellheads drive.
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said Bear Scotland was liaising with Aberdeen City Council to help improve the situation further.
Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald said: “I have heard a lot from my friends in Dyce about their difficulties with the traffic.
“I think that given that we are only two weeks away from the school holidays, it strikes me as a bit odd that a major route which serves many places of work was closed off now, when perhaps a little bit of rescheduling could have led to less disruption.
“But it’s for the contractors to determine whether they could have perhaps looked at that.
“Commuters who were impacted by the traffic today would do well to consider taking alternative routes or perhaps using public transport, as we are well served in Dyce, particularly with the rail station.
“However, of course in some cases it may be that the car is the only way that some people have to get to and from work, so it would be advisable to consider planning ahead for the longer journey times that will result from these road works.”
The new AECC is scheduled for completion by 2019, and will feature a 12,500-capacity arena with three exhibition halls.