Hint of deja vu in Aberdeen's roads plans

I have to admit to a wry smile when I read the headlines about a the proposals for a new bridge to ease the traffic congestion at Bridge of Dee. One of the proposals had rather a familiar ring to it.

Some years ago I got a copy of Granite City: A Plan for Aberdeen. An impressive volume, it was published just a few years after the Second World War and demonstrates a vision, joined-up-thinking and ambition that has been sadly lacking in the city in recent years.

One of the many proposals in the book is a new bridge over the River Dee.


As you can see in the section of the map shown above, the new bridge would be east of Leggart Terrace and would cross over the River Dee to join Garthdee Road. The then Secretary of State for Scotland was obviously impressed, so much so that he signed off the plan in 1957.

Now, 57 years later someone has come up with a new idea to solve the traffic congestion at Bridge of Dee – “the new bridge would be east of Leggart Terrace and would cross over the River Dee to join Garthdee Road”!

If it was good enough in the 1950s, the argument might well be that it is long overdue in 2014. But one thing worries me about the new plans.

Having taken traffic across the River Dee, where do they go? Do they just snarl up the traffic around Sainsbury’s, B&Q, Asda and the Bridge of Dee roundabout to the point of grid lock?

That’s where the 1950’s planners were a step ahead of today’s.

As you can see on the map the new bridge was part of the then proposed Aberdeen by-pass (you can see it sweeping over to the harbour road from the Stonehaven road on the bottom right of the map). Once across the Dee, the traffic could go left up Garthdee road to Pitfodels on the proposed Aberdeen by-pass (which continued through Hazlehead and Mastrick to Bucksburn and on to join the Peterhead road).

Or it could sweep round the greyhound track, that occupied the Asda site, joining the Anderson Drive ring road on the former ice rink site (now Headland Court, the ice rink having been destroyed in 1940 when a German Heinkel bomber crashed into it).
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