Jul 232010

By Dave Innes.

It has been an intention, since Voice first elbowed its way out of cyberspace, to run a feature on the Third Don Crossing planned to span the river between Danestone and Tillydrone. This long-mooted construction seems to have been almost forgotten as the higher profile planning issues of Union Terrace Gardens, Menie and the Western Peripheral Route have taken centre stage in recent times. As a Bridge of Don resident, I’m arguably in the minority in being unconvinced of the virtues of this proposal.

Received wisdom on the views of residents of what is always termed “north of The Parkway” is that they will be vociferously in favour of the bridge, as it will be viewed as an additional means of crossing the Don, cutting down journey times to the city centre whilst easing traffic flow on Ellon Road, Scotstown Road, Balgownie Road and the current bridge at Mugiemoss.

The current carriageway resurfacing work taking place on Ellon Road, necessitating the closure of its entire northbound stretch from Balgownie Road to the eastern end of The Parkway, gives some indication as to what might happen if drivers decide that the proposed new bridge is an alternative to queuing on Ellon Road, Great Northern Road or The Parkway. It may not be the panacea they envisage.

Residents of the housing estates which make up Bridge of Don have been expressing concern at the volume of traffic being diverted temporarily through these estates as the A956 resurfacing progresses during the city’s Trades Fortnight. Even former Provost Reynolds, a councillor for the Bridge of Don area has commented on the matter. Some among the Bridge of Don citizenry are concerned too, that as drivers try to avoid the queues, they are using unsuitable residential streets as short cuts, causing inconvenience and no little danger to those who live there.

Apart from the well-publicised safety issues highlighted by our Tillydrone neighbours and the dearth of research data showing the effects of a third crossing on St Machar Drive and Bedford Road congestion, is it not possible that significant volumes of traffic will find short cuts from the A90 to the new bridge via those same streets currently being affected by the temporary diversions in place to allow the much-needed remedial work to be completed on Ellon Road? Will those supposedly clamouring for the third crossing be prepared to put up with the current temporary inconvenience on a permanent basis as city-bound drivers from the north detour via Denmore, Dubford, Jesmond Drive and Whitestripes Avenue to attempt to access the new crossing and cut journey times yet further?

Food for thought, perhaps, for those who see this proposal as a solution to a problem which arguably has its roots in poor infrastructure planning during the suburban house-building frenzy of the past thirty years.

We intend to feature the case for and against the Third Don Crossing in the near future by talking to representatives from both sides of the argument.