SNP councillors in Aberdeen today pledged to spend tens of millions of pounds on a new bridge across the River Dee – if they seize control at the May elections.
Nationalists in the city have put the congesting-busting project at the heart of their manifesto for the spring poll.
They believe a new crossing, which could cost between £4 million and £60m, would “transform” the entrance to the city from the south and get rid of the notorious bottleneck which causes huge hold-ups on the A90.
Stephen Flynn, the leader of the SNP group on the city council, said it was “essential” to capitalise on the improved transport links which will be created by the completion of the AWPR.
Plans for a new river crossing have been on the table since early last year.
Council chiefs unveiled a trio of designs, which would all retain the 16th Century Bridge of Dee for pedestrians and cyclists.
The option favoured by the SNP, would include a new arch crossing alongside the existing bridge.
Cllr Flynn said: “With transport links around our city being improved thanks to the AWPR it is absolutely essential that we capitalise on this and do our bit to improve the infrastructure in this part of our city.
“Obviously, any development will need to be sympathetic to the historical magnificence of the Bridge of Dee and not impact the river itself, but I believe this can be achieved and I’m excited about doing so.
“Our local communities, commuters and businesses will all benefit from this development.”
A new crossing over the Dee has been supported by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
The 16-member SNP group is the main opposition to the ruling Labour-Conservative-Independent alliance administration at the city council. They would need to increase their numbers to at least 23 to win a majority of the 45 seats on the local authority.
But administration finance vice-convener Alan Donnelly, a Conservative councillor, said: “My personal view would be to go for the upstream bridge which would allow for easier access to the Garthdee shopping venues and the university campus.”
Labour’s Neil Cooney, infrastructure convener, said: “I think much depends on the availability of finances.”