Will the AWPR improve road safety in North East of Scotland?

Traffic on motorway

Transport chiefs believe that the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) will reduce the number of accidents in the north-east by around 80 per year. It is estimated that there will be a reduction in 72 minor, nine serious and at least one fatal road traffic accident each year

The AWPR is a new 46km long route extending from Stonehaven to Blackdog. First proposed in 1952 as a means of bypassing Aberdeen, the first section from Goval to Blackdog has now opened to the public. While a completion date has not yet been set for the rest of the route, the whole bypass is scheduled to be open by late 2018.

Chief Inspector of road policing in the north of Scotland Stewart Mackie stated: “When the road opens it will be one of the safest in the country”. The hope is that the AWPR will improve road safety and reduce accidents by taking large volumes of traffic away from unsuitable and rural roads and busy urban area while easing congestion during rush hours.

Emma Bellu, Chief Executive of local safety charity Absafe stated: “This project can quite literally save lives, reduce injuries and improve wellbeing…”. Journeys will be quicker, safer and less stressful which will be welcome news for local drivers. Residents have long awaited improvements to the local road network in the north east of Scotland.

Does the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route go far enough?

Since 2005, there have been 20 fatal crashes on the A947 between Aberdeen and Banff. The A947 is the main link road between Aberdeen and the towns of Newmachar, Oldmeldrum, Turriff and Banff. The route is characterised by frequent bends, poor visibility and a high proportion of slow moving agricultural vehicles and HGV’s. Although the overall accident rate is below national levels, the number of fatal and serious accidents is 60% higher.

While a small portion of the route will be realigned as part of the AWPR; the majority of the route remains untouched. An addition development of the AWPR could see greater traffic on the A947 south of Newmachar once the AWPR is fully open.

Calls have been made to dual aspects of the road and for greater lay-bys to be installed to help combat driver frustration. With development of the AWPR and further improvements expected on the A90 and A96 trunk roads, inconsistencies could be seen between the A947 and other local roads.

The Aberdeenshire Council has considered possible upgrades to the route. The reality is that it will be many years before any action can be taken. In addition, the Scottish Government has advised that there are no plans to make any changes.

It would appear more needs to be done to really combat the issue. However, improving roads only goes so far as the sad reality is that many road traffic accidents are a result of driver error.

Digby Brown Solicitors recommends driving smart.

  1. Reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.
  2. Plan your route before you set off.
  3. Allow yourself plenty of time to travel especially if it is wet or slippy.
  4. Remain patient and avoid overtaking on single carriageway roads.
  5. Read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. Look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances.

Our Aberdeen personal injury solicitors see first-hand the upsetting impact that road traffic accidents have on individuals and families in Aberdeenshire.