A new section of shared use path allowing cyclists and pedestrians to safely cross the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) and which fills a gap in the popular Deeside Way off-road commuting and leisure route has now opened.
As we reported last August, a bridge constructed to carry the B979 road from Milltimber to Maryculter over Aberdeen’s new bypass had no safe provision to cross it for people on bike or foot.
A reconfiguration of the road layout due to construction of the new bridge meant that cyclists had to ride 30 metres into oncoming traffic to rejoin the route – something that road.cc reader Carl Gerrard, who lives in nearby Culter, described as “lethal.”
He supplied us with a copy of a drawing used in a public consultation in 2014 that he had annotated, including a red line showing the route of a proposed pavement discussed with engineers at the consultation meeting but which did not appear in the final plans.
Carl said that the drawing was shared widely on social media after road.cc’s article in August and had helped the campaign to have the missing link in the Deeside Way reinstated.
This week, after the new path was opened, he told the Press & Journal: “Thanks to everyone who helped get the path replaced, hundreds of walkers and cyclists can now cross safely every day.
“The Deeside Way is one of the most well-used cycling and walking paths in the north of Scotland.”
Member of the Scottish Parliament Lewis Macdonald told the newspaper: “It’s great to see that the pathway has finally been reinstated.
“Credit goes to the local residents who have been campaigning to make this happen.
“Having the pathway will mean that cyclists, walkers, and horse riders who regularly use the Deeside Way will be able to cross the B979 more safely.
“I had concerns that a failure to reinstate the pathway would deter active travel, so it is positive news that it is now ready to use.”
In September, a cycling festival was organised to mark the opening of the AWPR, allowing people to ride their bikes on part of the route – even though once the road was fully operational, cyclists would be banned from it.
One local campaigner, Ben Butler described the festival as a “kick in the teeth for cyclists,” and joined others in boycotting it.
Instead, they staged a protest in Aberdeen city centre to highlight the construction of a road that made no provision for people on bikes, as well as the missing link on the Deeside Way that the AWPR had created.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.