Motorists are being warned to expect a weekend of traffic chaos in the north east, cause by a toxic cocktail of delays, diversions, road closures and sporting events.
A major Aberdeenshire road will close overnight for the next three weekends while scores of giant metal beams are fitted for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).
A total of 20 of the 100ft-long structures, weighing 59 tonnes, will be installed, with the process starting today over the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness trunk road to create a new bridge.
Last night, transport chiefs hailed the installation as a “significant step forwards” on the multi-million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty project.
They said the closures, taking place at the A96 near Craibstone from 8pm until 6am, were for the safety of staff and other road users.
In the city, major delays are anticipated as a consequence of the long-awaited Aberdeen Ikea store opening, the Dons’ last game of the season at Pittodrie and the Baker Hughes 10k charity run.
Ongoing projects such as the Don Crossing will also slow things down and warm weather is expected to draw people into the city.
Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: “We’d ask motorists not travelling to these places to consider finding an alternative route if possible.
“Because the roads around the beach/King Street and Wellington Circle areas are sure to be much more busy than normal.”
An AWPR/B-T spokesperson said: “This is the longest road construction project currently underway in the UK, and the placement of these beams will ultimately allow AWPR traffic to travel over the A96.
“So this is a major milestone for the project. However, for safety reasons, it will be necessary for the A96 to close overnight at weekends while the beams are moved into place.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank road users and the local community for their on-going support and patience during the construction works.”
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said that delayed projects like the Third Don Crossing could have been avoided.
He said: “The Third Don Crossing just compounds the traffic chaos caused by these events across the city.
“Undoubtedly the impact could have been lessened if it was completed on time.”
Traffic to be re-directed
Westbound traffic will be in dedicated lanes from the Sclattie roundabout. Traffic travelling onto Dyce Drive should take the right hand lane.
Traffic travelling westbound should take the left hand lane and then turn left onto Forrit Brae and onto the C89C Chapel of Stoneywood-Fairley Road.
A one-way system will be in place on the C89C Chapel of Stoneywood while this diversion is in place.
Eastbound traffic will turn left onto the U53C Chapel of Stoneywood-Newton Kirkhill Road.
A one-way system will be in place until road users reach the Dyce Drive junction.
From 6am, the Beach Esplanade from King Street at Bridge of Don to New Pier Road and Pittodrie Street will be closed, reopening in the afternoon.
The Beach Boulevard from Links Road to the Beach Esplanade will be closed from 8am until 2pm, with the road from Links Road to Wellington Street closed until noon.
Elsewhere, a number of other routes will be closed to traffic from 9am until 10.30am to make way for the crowds, including Wellington Street to Waterloo Quay, York Place heading to York Street, Pocra Quay and New Pier Road.
There will be no traffic access on Commerce Street southbound from Virginia Street and Miller Street to Waterloo Quay.
Regent Walk at Golf Road eastbound, and Seaton Crescent to Seaton Road, Seaton Drive, and Seaton Walk to King Street will all be closed from 8am to 1pm.