Business owners have revealed that the new AWPR has helped boost trade in smaller communities around the north-east.
It has been three months since the £745 million route fully opened to drivers following years of construction and numerous setbacks.
The Evening Express has now spoken to a number of business and community leaders to find out about the impact of the Aberdeen bypass on towns in Aberdeenshire.
Traders in Stonehaven said they were already reaping the benefits of the new road, with more people travelling to the coastal town to sample regional delicacies such as the famous battered Mars bar.
Lorraine Watson, owner of the Carron Fish Bar, the birthplace of the sweet treat, said there had been an increase in orders.
She said: “It has been fantastic. Staff phoned me the first night the road was opened because they were really busy – we doubled our takings.
“We are seeing people coming in from places such as Ellon, Inverurie and Kingswells.
“It has had a great impact on business. I think for everyone the AWPR has been an amazing benefit.”
Residents and business owners in the seaside hotspot are also now finding it easier to travel to other parts of the north-east.
Calum Richardson, owner of the Bay Fish and Chips, said: “I have been able to travel to Peterhead in the morning rather than staying there the night before for the fish market.
“I also find myself away on business quite a lot and it has made it a lot easier to travel to the airport.”
Sheila Howarth, who owns the Belvedere Hotel and is a member of the Stonehaven Tourism Group and Business Association, also welcomed the route.
She said there had been a “surge” of visitors since the AWPR opened with motorists keen to try out the new road.
And Pete Hill, chairman of the Friends of the Stonehaven Open Air Pool, has high hopes the new bypass will lead to a bumper season for the popular attraction which opens on Saturday.
The new road has also made it easier for residents and tourists to visit other attractions in Aberdeenshire.
Mandy Davidson, owner of the Cock and Bull restaurant, near Balmedie, described the AWPR as a “huge benefit” to the area – although she believes that the signage could be improved, particularly at the Balmedie junction, to advertise the coastal route north.
And community leaders in the Garioch area hope reduced travelling times will encourage more businesses to open up in the region.
Inverurie Business Association (IBA) chairwoman Victoria Withy said: “We hope it will encourage more businesses to move to Inverurie, given the easier access to Aberdeen and beyond.
“With potentially an increase in businesses and more visitors to the town, the AWPR is viewed as a positive addition to Aberdeenshire.”
Westhill councillors said the new road has had an impact on commuter travelling times.
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Iris Walker said: “It is a well-known fact that the A944 was to be the stretch of road which wouldn’t be positively impacted by the AWPR due to a number of large development sites being approved post-design stage.
“As predicted, peak-time travel along the A944 from Kingswells to Westhill has increased. Constituents have raised issues about the restricted approach to the Westhill and Alford turn-off, coming from the south on the AWPR, and the confusion of pedestrian lights near the entrance and exit northwards.
“These design issues have been raised with both Aberdeen City Council and Transport Scotland.
“It will be interesting to see the outcome of the survey commissioned by Aberdeen City which will look at delays on the Kingswells South junctions.”
But Councillor Ron McKail said: “The AWPR will provide economic benefits to the north-east.
“The road itself is impressive and a pleasure to drive on with fantastic views.”