Could King’s Gate roundabout be replaced with traffic lights?


It’s been a big year for the roads in the North East of Scotland, and Aberdeen in particular. First, we have the £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie-Tipperty bypass, then plans to improve the Haudagain Roundabout route…and now it has been suggested that the Anderson Drive roundabout at King’s Gate could be the next target. (“Target” seems an appropriate word in this case. I have to declare an interest, here, as I use both in my commute.)

The problem for road users and those charged with responsibility for traffic management is this. The City Ring Road runs approximately North – South across the City and, currently, carries the huge majority of Trunk Road traffic passing across the city, in addition to all other “local” traffic. This can lead to severe congestion, especially at pinch points such as Bridge of Dee and Haudagain roundabout. Compounding this, at peak times, is the flow of traffic into and out of the city which, of necessity, has to cross the North/South stream at various points on the Ring Road. This leads to difficulty, often exasperation and occasional, antisocial behavior by drivers. As for pedestrians, my advice is, wear trainers and practice sprinting.

 Regional transport body Nestrans, along with the Aberdeen City Council, are investigating plans which could turn the busy roundabout into a signalised junction, with the pedestrian crossing at Rubislaw Den South to be converted to a toucan crossing – which allows cyclists as well as pedestrians to cross at the same time.

Commuters will know that at the moment, traffic coming into the city gets stuck waiting to cross Anderson Drive – something that Nestrans has suggested the change to traffic lights could fix, by giving priority to the way people want traffic to flow. Incidentally, one of the cherished features of our City Council is a consuming desire to plant shrubbery in the centre of most roundabouts, allied with advertising placards, the combined effect of which is to ensure limited visibility of traffic entering a roundabout, thereby adding increased excitement to the decision whether to try for a gap in the traffic.

However, it might not just be the roundabout itself getting looked into as part of this £32,500 investigation: it has been suggested that additional traffic lights could be installed at other points along Anderson Drive if required, in order to ‘maximise the benefits of the AWPR’. Of course – it could be that traffic on Anderson Drive will be reduced anyway when the AWPR opens. (In my opinion that is more a pious hope than a realistic expectation.)

It’s worth noting that these are not the first plans that Nestrans and the council have had for roundabouts in the region: those with a keen memory may recall that in June, similar investigations began for the roundabout on South Anderson Drive at Broomhill Road.

Will this make transport easier for those living on Anderson Drive and the nearby streets? It is too early to say at the moment, but it seems that while it could lead to improvements in the long term, the work itself could cause disruption in the short term.

There is the chance that the investigation will decide to keep the roundabout. We will be following the news eagerly.

What do you think about the proposed plans? Will they help transport across the city?

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