A new road layout in the city centre which will create a bus priority route is to open after Scottish Gas Networks has finished works on Union Terrace.
The new road layout will help to reduce travel times for buses in the city centre which will in turn encourage more people to use sustainable or active travel, which is one of the goals of the City Centre Masterplan.
The bus priority route will minimise the amount of general traffic on Bridge Street, Guild Street (east of Wapping Street), and Market Street (north of Guild Street) by stopping traffic from using these streets as through-routes.
Access to properties, businesses, and the Trinity Centre car park will be maintained and motorists will be able to access the area via the Denburn and South College Street.
Scottish Gas Networks is closing Union Terrace from 31 July until 11 August to carry out a gas connection to a nearby property and roadworks on the new bus priority route will take place prior to and during the same time. Further detail about the start of the works will be made public at a later date. Traffic is expected to use Union Terrace during and after the bus priority road network changes.
As part of the works for the new bus priority route, an additional three bus gates are being created on the top of Market Street, the east side of Guild Street, and on Bridge Street, and the bus gate on the east side of Union Street is being moved to the front of the Adelphi.
There will also be a ban on turning right from Union Terrace to Rosemount Viaduct (except for buses, taxis, and cycles), and Schoolhill will remain pedestrianised from Back Wynd to Flourmill Lane, with access available for loading from 4:30pm-11am.
The works for the various roads affected, which includes lining and signage works, will be carried out on a rolling basis and are expected to take about three weeks to complete, weather permitting. An online public consultation will also be held for the new road layout when it opens.
The bus priority route was agreed at a meeting of the Full Council last June (2022) as part of the City Centre Masterplan to encourage sustainable and active travel in the city centre.
Council Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill said: “The new road layout will help encourage people to travel by bus by helping to reduce bus travel times in the city centre.
“The Council is investing in the new infrastructure as part of the City Centre Masterplan, which is aimed at making the area a more attractive place to live, work, and visit.”
Net Zero, Environment and Transport Committee Convener Councillor Miranda Radley said: “These interventions will have a positive impact on lowering emissions in our city centre as well as giving a much needed boost to our public transport network as we want to encourage people to walk, cycle or take public transport where they can.”
The new road layout was welcomed by local bus operators.
Robert Andrew, chairman of the North East Bus Alliance, said: “The bus priority will have a measurable positive impact on a number of bus services and thousands of people in the north east who travel through the city centre.
“Congestion can drastically affect bus journey times and punctuality, ultimately leading to lower passenger satisfaction and perception of service. By freeing up buses from the traffic around Guild Street and the bus station, we can support more efficient and reliable services.
“This is just one part of a broader plan for improvements, facilitated by the Bus Partnership Fund, and it brings us closer to achieving our vision for a step change improvement in public transport.”
Statutory stakeholders including emergency services have already been informed of the road layout changes which are being achieved through an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
A six-month-long public consultation as part of the ETRO will start when the new road layout comes into force.