A changing of the tides on roads around Aberdeen beach will arrive early next year – with a warning the surge could catch people out.
Multi-million-pound plans for two new parks either side of the Beach Boulevard were progressed by the city council earlier this month.
The permanent future of the route from the city centre, through the Justice Street roundabout and down the Boulevard to the seafront will be decided in a year’s time.
But the first wave of what could be to come – loss of the use of the most eastern stretch of the Boulevard for motorists – will break “probably” in February.
A busy route in and out of the city for traffic from the north, it will be the latest change for motorists to negotiate.
The Esplanade and Boulevard are also a safe route for uncertain motorists looking to avoid any of the new bus gates and change in the city centre on their way to the south of Aberdeen.
Beach Boulevard closure will allow unfurling of Aberdeen masterplan
But when work begins on the £48m phase one of the beach masterplan, there will be new upheaval to contend with.
At the Beach Ballroom roundabout, citybound traffic will be diverted along Links Road.
On the northern side of the Boulevard, an events park with a new amphitheatre is planned in the green space beneath the Beach Ballroom and its new plaza.
Across the Boulevard, land is earmarked for the “rope factory” playpark, with a sports area and a pump track.
There are also plans for new landscaping around the beachfront and a viewing platform on Broadhill.
The stretch of the Boulevard between Links Road and the Esplanade will be closed during construction.
Longer-term closures are expected for the second part of the beachfront facelift, which is yet to be planned in detail – including whether or not a new Aberdeen FC stadium will play a key role.
Links Road diversion ‘probably’ will begin in February
Concerns were raised by SNP councillor Gill Al-Samarai, who highlighted the route was “well used” by people travelling into the city from Bridge of Don and Aberdeenshire.
At a recent council meeting, chief commercial officer Craig Innes said: “It is proposed to close that Beach Boulevard spine between the two parks for a period.
“That will probably start around next February.
“And, in the interim, we would look to have traffic coming along Links Road, past the Beach Ballroom, towards the traffic lights and then we would look at the sequencing of the lights at that point.
“You would have three roads as opposed to the four so we would have options around about that, doing it on a rotational basis to keep traffic moving so there’s not a filter or bottleneck.
“That’s the thinking at the minute but it will be subject to traffic modeling and engagement specifically on that.”
Aberdeen beach roads upheaval could be a sign of change to come
The Boulevard closure will last an – as yet – undefined period but is not a permanent change.
Consultation will be carried out with affected residents beforehand.
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Meanehile, city planners have been tasked with finding a “more modest” way to make the Justice Street roundabout, at the top of the Boulevard, more cycle-friendly.
Initial proposals tallied up to a £12.3m spend.
The roads work will also tie in wider council goals, including creating a bus through route over the Castlegate.
But in the meantime, Aberdeen Labour councillor for George Street and Harbour Sandra Macdonald admitted “surprise” that so little was being said about the temporary roads overhaul.
“I don’t think people quite realise what is going to happen in February next year,” she said.
“Either in the area, or people coming in from Bridge of Don and beyond.
“But there are some positives as well for local residents.
“I think the car meets down at the beach won’t be able to happen there.”
- Read about a recent rogue car meet at the beach, described as “carnage” by one witness
- The sea of penalising road changes in Aberdeen city centre was recently described as a “war on motorists”. More change is on the way.
- A recent count revealed one motorist breaks the new ban on right turns out of Union Terrace once every two minutes.
- And is the beach masterplan ‘as fanciful as a child’s Christmas wishlist’?