The SNP claim that Labour’s plan to tear up the construction schedule for the Aberdeen by-pass will plunge the city into traffic chaos.
The party says that the Labour plan is fatally flawed by a fundamental misunderstanding of the traffic situation in the city.
Labour are set to use a debate in the Scottish Parliament to call for work on the Haudagain roundabout to begin before work on the AWPR – despite the chaos that would be caused by closing the roundabout before pressure has been alleviated by the new bypass.
The roundabout in the north of the city, on the junction of the A96 and the A90, is a notorious traffic bottleneck. In 2009 the roundabout was nominated as one of the worst in the UK in a competition run by online car leasing firm Central Contracts.
With the legal obstacles to the long-awaited by-pass now cleared, the SNP plan to deliver the new road where previous administrations failed. A shortlist of companies bidding for the work was announced just weeks ago and construction is scheduled to begin next year.
Much of the traffic that the by-pass is set to alleviate currently travels through the Haudagain roundabout, making construction of the by-pass vital to tackling the problems at the traffic blackspot. Additionally, every potential traffic solution identified by Aberdeen City Council for improving the Haudagain required the delivery of a Third Don Crossing which Labour has consistently opposed but which will now be delivered thanks to SNP votes in Aberdeen City Council.
The SNP Government has committed to funding improvements at the Haudagain after the AWPR is complete, including the compulsory purchase and compensation for properties needed to build improvements to the roundabout.
Commenting ahead of speaking in the debate, Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“Labour’s choice of debate topic simply sums up everything that is wrong with their approach to transport in Aberdeen.
“It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the traffic situation in Aberdeen by Labour – no wonder they no longer have any constituency MSPs in the city. Unlike Labour, who don’t show any understanding of the situation on the ground, the SNP’s priority is meeting the needs of people in Middlefield and across Aberdeen.
“That is why the SNP’s commitment to work with the local community to relocate households and services like Middlefield Community Project and Middlefield Healthy Hoose is so essential.
“Closing the Haudagain before the bypass is in place to alleviate the traffic – as Labour are calling for – would be an absolute disaster that would see this city grind to a halt.
“How exactly does Labour expect traffic to move in this city if the Haudagain is closed to traffic and the bypass is not in place?
“When it comes to improving transport in Aberdeen, Labour have empty words instead of concrete plans.
“The SNP are putting the needs of people living here first and delivering the bypass and action on the Haudagain where Labour have simply failed and failed again.”