Scottish ministers have backed compulsory purchase of land needed to build a new dual carriageway in Aberdeen.
The congestion-killing Berryden Corridor improvements have been decades in the making, and the government’s decision brings the local authority ever closer to getting spades in the ground.
A timescale for construction of the queue-buster is expected to be set out by the council in August.
Government backing means construction plans can begin
Last summer, it was estimated the council controlled around 80% of the required land for the expanded route around Berryden Road.
A total of 24 objections were lodged the government – though 19 were later withdrawn.
The compulsory purchase order (CPO) was subjected to a public inquiry in April.
The ruling issued by Transport Scotland this week clears the way for the stretch between Skene Square and Ashgrove Road to be widened, and for a new road leading to the Kittybrewster roundabout to be built behind homes in Great Northern Road.
Letters from the roads quango informed objectors of the decision this week, highlighting ministers agreed the compulsory acquisition of the required land was “proportionate and in the public interest”.
The government also accepted the importance of building the road to “vastly reduce” congestion in the north of Aberdeen.
Berryden Road queuing could fall by up to 20%
Council chiefs hope the expanded carriageway through Berryden will boost the benefits already brought by the Diamond Bridge over the River Don, which opened in 2016.
All junctions along the new road – last priced at £26.4 million – will have traffic lights installed to replace roundabouts, apart from at Kittybrewster.
This will add more than 10 new pedestrian crossings to the stretch, hoped to boost walking and cycling along with new pavements and two miles of new cycle tracks.
Improvements have long been sought in Berryden Road, a notorious blackspot for congestion, which has been deemed to be operating “beyond capacity” at peak times.
Council planners expect journey times to reduce by between 5% and 40% at peak times along the new road, with queuing estimated to fall by up to a fifth.
Another ‘major milestone’ in the long-running work for Berryden Corridor dual carriageway
Government backing is the latest “major milestone” in the project, hailed by the council.
Transport spokeswoman Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “This is fantastic news for the Berryden Corridor Improvement Project and is a significant step forward.
“This project will help journey time reliability, relieve congestion, and improve infrastructure for walking and cycling, and is part of a wider scheme for improving the roads network across the city.”
Objectors have six weeks to challenge the decision in the courts.