Road closure means 35-mile detour

Councillor Robbie Withey is concerned by the road closure
Councillor Robbie Withey is concerned by the road closure

Motorists are facing a 35-mile detour for two weeks when a section of road near Alford is closed for repairs.

Resurfacing work is due to start on less than a mile of the A944 at Bridge of Alford from Monday (August 7).

The road closure will mean a 35-mile diversion for motorists

The road closure will mean a 35-mile diversion for motorists

The huge diversion will take drivers from Alford to Insch, Gartly, Rhynie and Lumsden for the duration of the closure.

Local councillor Robbie Withey is concerned over the impact of the shutdown.

He said: “I fully understand the work needs to be done however, the complete closure of such an important route and the incredible diversion around it will cause havoc for local people and visitors to the area.”

The councillor suggested instead closing one lane at a time using a traffic control system.

He and colleague Councillor John Latham met Aberdeenshire Council roads officials at the site on Tuesday morning to discuss the closure, diversion and possible alternatives.

Mr Withey said later: “My main concern over this was the long diversion route and the fact many people will instead try to use alternative routes that are not fit and unsafe for any level of traffic, especially large vehicles.

“Although council officers can’t stop this from happening, they did say that they are willing to put up signs at these locations warning drivers that the route is not suitable as a diversion.

“This will hopefully help and protect not just drivers but also local residents who are worried about high levels of traffic using the single track roads.

“As much as I still think the closure will cause problems, I can see the difficulties officers have had finding an alternative, as they explained. Unfortunately I’m not a road engineer so we have to accept their reasons and recommendations.”

Officials also pointed out that the impending closure will mean that when the second phase of the work is done next year there will be no need to close the road and there will be minimal disruption.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “The diversion is indeed a long one due to the rural nature of the location and the requirement that a diversion must divert to roads that are the same class as the one that is closed.

“Heavy goods vehicles must be taken account of in any diversion and that is the case with this closure too.”