Long-awaited £640,000 improvement works at a notorious Aberdeen junction are still on schedule, the council administration has insisted.
The junction between Shielhill Road and the B999 Potterton to Bridge of Don road has been causing issues for motorists, and the people who live near it, for years.
What are the issues with the junction, and where is it?
The junction has generated complaints for years.
In a report, city council officers said the turning is “substandard”, and is “presenting difficulties for road users”.
Those approaching from the west along Shielhill Road “suffer from poor forward visibility detrimental to the safe use of the road” according to council officers.
The local authority has put in place “large more conspicuous warning signage with additional road markings” on the junction approaches in order to reduce the chances of any accidents or near-misses.
‘Somebody is going to get killed at this junction’
Alistair Laird, who lives next to the junction, says his life has been made difficult by the sheer volume of traffic using the junction and driving along Shielhill Road.
The noisy traffic became such an problem for the night shift worker that he commissioned a traffic data company to analyse how many vehicles drove past his property over a seven-day period with a camera.
On just one of the days traffic was recorded in September, Mr Laird had 2,250 vehicles travelling eastbound past his home on Shielhill Road, and 1,696 going west.
Mr Laird says the problems with the junction have been bad since he moved in almost nine years ago, but argued the volume of traffic using it is increasing.
He said: “This kicking the can down the road is now beyond a joke, this needs to be fixed.
“Trying to get in and out of the driveway is very difficult, it’s crazy with all the traffic.
“The speed some people drive along here at the junction is just unbelievable.
“My neighbour and me are just appalled. We’ve seen people speed up to the junction, brake, and skid right across the road.
“Somebody is going to get killed at this junction.
“It’s up to the council to get this fixed.”
The junction lies close to the North Denmore housing development.
What are the latest developments?
Councillors on Aberdeen City Council’s capital programme committee heard an update on work to progress £640,000 worth of improvement works at the junction yesterday.
At the start of 2020, planning was underway for the project, which will involve reconfiguring and realigning the junction, along with visibility improvement.
But the pandemic set the plans back.
Now however, preliminary design and preparation works “have commenced”.
These works include assessment of traffic flow in the area following the completion of the Aberdeen bypass and land title confirmation.
A report from officers says “progress of the project remains on programme”, and construction could start by the financial year 2023/24, assuming the “voluntary acquisition of land required”, and no further setbacks caused by Covid.
SNP asks to see if project can be sped up
During the committee meeting, SNP councillor Michael Hutchison put forward an amendment asking to instruct officers to “investigate the feasibility of bringing forward design works at the earliest at the earliest opportunity” for the improvement project, and report to the city growth and resources committee.
Mr Hutchison said: “My colleagues have been raising this consistently, and I assume the administration councillors will be the same.
“If there is anything that can be done to speed that up, I’m supportive of that.
“That’s why I’m calling for this report just to see if there is anything that can be done to expedite that junction being addressed.
“Safety is paramount.”
However, his amendment was defeated by five votes to four, and the committee agreed to “note the programme milestones and associated financial implications”.
Administration councillors argued that if the Shielhill project was pushed forwards, it could have a detrimental impact on other projects.
‘I don’t think anybody is resting on their laurels’
Independent councillor Marie Boulton, convener of the committee, said “local members are all equally concerned that this is delivered as soon as possible”.
She said: “All of the elements that need to be done to get it delivered are now underway.
“What we can’t forecast is any delays because of Covid or anything else, and it’s got to go through a statutory process.
“We are beholden to various processes in terms of land, etcetera.
“There are a number of things that have to be considered.
“It’s not just simply ‘let’s throw a few more resources at it to make it happen quicker’, there is a process that has been commenced and there’s a logical order it has to go through.”
She added: “I don’t think anybody is resting on their laurels.
“I think we’d be further along the road, excuse the pun, if we hadn’t had Covid.
“But I do believe officers now have this firmly in their grasp and we will see progress made that we would hope to see made.”