AWPR’s big weekend draws to a close

Thousands have visited the GoNorthEast road festival this weekend, to celebrate the transformational Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project.

The free weekend-long event, took place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September 2018 in advance of the opening of this eagerly-awaited road project.

The festival offered visitors a range of exhibitions and entertainment on a section of the new road. As well as viewing the festival attractions, people of all ages and abilities took the opportunity to cycle and walk along a picturesque part of the new road in the Dee Valley, including crossing the new bridge over the River Dee.

Highlights from the community festival included:

  • Over 6,000 people visited the festival on Saturday with thousands more expected on Sunday
  • A fully subscribed cycle experience which allowed 1,500 cyclists the chance to bring their own bikes along to cycle an 18 km closed-road loop on the new road on Sunday
  • 120 vintage and modern vehicles were on display, curated by local event partners Grampian Transport Museum
  • Interactive displays on new technology and engineering from Shell’s Eco Marathon teams and the Greenpower Formula 24 initiative
  • A car simulator, toy car arena and lots of fun activities for children including face painting and murals created by toy cars International street performers
  • The Borrow a Bike initiative proved popular with visitors, who took advantage of a stock of up to 200 bicycles, including electric bikes. This allowed people of all ages and abilities to borrow and travel their choice of distance along a closed 4 km loop on the new road
  • A Country Walk allowing people to explore a 1.8 km route to enjoy the picturesque Dee Valley
  • A short film created by pupils from Bucksburn Academy premiered on the big screen at the festival. The Bucksburn team won a public vote with 72.7 per cent of the vote, after their film was shortlisted by judges alongside team 1 from Inverurie Academy
  • Around 40 pupils from Inverurie Academy, Turriff Academy, Cults Academy, Bucksburn Academy, St Machar Academy and St Margaret’s School for Girls all took part.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure & Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“It has been a wonderful weekend of activities to mark the AWPR/B-T project. I visited the festival on Saturday and it was great to see so many people of all ages enjoying the displays and taking the unique chance to get up close with a section of this impressive new road.

“I understand it has been a challenging time for those directly impacted on by building this impressive project, that’s why this festival weekend has been important to us in recognising the patience of local people and communities over that time. With the end now in sight, people are starting to see and experience the real benefits this project will deliver.

“Over the course of this weekend we have seen thousands of people visit, with 1,500 cyclists taking the chance to travel an 18 km loop of the new road on Sunday morning. The popularity of the events reflects the level of interest in this project across the region.

“We are looking forward to the next key section of this project opening to traffic in the coming weeks. This project is a genuine game-changer and will revolutionise transport in and around Aberdeen. We are approaching the home straight in terms of completion and this next phase will provide a key step towards improved journey times, reliability, access to markets and improved connectivity across the region and beyond.”

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Jim Gifford said:

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time at the festival this weekend. It’s been a real celebration of the hard work that has gone into development of the route, as well as recognising the transport history and future of the north-east of Scotland.

“It’s been great to see so many people joining us for this weekend’s activities and our focus now turns to completion of the AWPR/B-T project and releasing the benefits it will bring across the city and shire.”

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said:

“It’s been a fantastic weekend and there have been so many highlights including the fantastic display of cars ranging from the very old to the future including hydrogen and electric vehicles.

“The winning film made by pupils at Bucksburn Academy was excellent and they are a talented group of youngsters, and of course it is the children and teenagers of today who will grow up in Aberdeen and the wider area realising the most benefits of the new road.

“We have invested £75million in the AWPR B-T as part of our ambitious vision for the region which is aimed at helping to continue to make Aberdeen a fantastic place to live, work, and visit, for now and the future.”