Fears of more set­backs at Broad Street de­vel­op­ment

Clo­sures: Coun­cil­lor says project ‘de­scend­ing into more of a joke by the day’

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY JON HEBDITCH

Con­cerns were raised yes­ter­day that a £3.2mil­lion pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion project in the heart of Aberdeen could suf­fer fur­ther set­backs due to resur­fac­ing works on a neigh­bour­ing road.

Broad Street closed to traf­fic more than a year ago for work to take place to create a “shared space” of land only open to buses and cy­clists.

Resur­fac­ing works are cur­rently be­ing car­ried out on Queen Street, with work be­gin­ning in Fe­bru­ary and an ini­tial com­ple­tion date of April.

But it has now emerged that this work will not be fin­ished un­til July at the ear­li­est.

Broad Street was closed to ve­hi­cles last March ahead of the re­de­vel­op­ment of the city coun­cil head­quar­ters which was de­mol­ished to make way for new build­ings.

Sev­eral prob­lems were then un­cov­ered, in­clud­ing the dis­cov­ery of a soft spot un­der­ground, thought to have been caused by ex­ploratory works, as well as is­sues with con­nec­tion to drainage pipes.

The street was tem­po­rar­ily re­opened for the Christ­mas mar­ket and Great Aberdeen Run.

And in Fe­bru­ary, coun­cil chiefs an­nounced their in­ten­tion for the work to be com­pleted by the end of spring. Last night op­po­si­tion SNP coun­cil­lor Michael Hutchi­son, who rep­re­sents the Ge­orge Street and Har­bour ward, said: “Fol­low­ing the farce of the Up­perkirk­gate clo­sure we had hoped the ad­min­is­tra­tion learned some ba­sic lessons and folk will now be won­der­ing whether this will fur­ther de­lay the Broad Street project.

“Ei­ther Broad Street will be closed for longer or we’ll see di­verted traf­fic con­tin­u­ing to drive over par­tially closed pave­ments.”

Mr Hutchi­son added: “There needs to be a clear mes­sage from the coun­cil lead­ers about what has hap­pened here be­cause it’s de­scend­ing into more of a joke by the day.”

An Aberdeen City Coun­cil spokes­woman said: “Since Septem­ber 2017 we have stated that Broad Street will be com­pleted in late spring/early sum­mer 2018, and this is still as sched­uled.

“We are work­ing with the con­trac­tor to ar­range a phased han­dover of Broad Street, which will al­low the other zones to open as com­pleted to mit­i­gate any de­lay in the project. We apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience this may cause to cus­tomers in the area and we are work­ing closely with the con­trac­tor to try to re­open Broad Street early where possible.”

And Ross Grant, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s trans­port spokesman added: “We are con­fi­dent that work be­ing car­ried out on Queen Street to en­able par­tial pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion of Broad Street will complement the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s drive to re­gen­er­ate the east end of Aberdeen.”

“Folk will won­der whether this will fur­ther de­lay the project”

DIS­RUP­TION: Broad Street closed to traf­fic more than a year ago

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