Aberdeen Uni principal: ‘We would fight plans for bridge through our campus’

An Aberdeen university boss today said his institution would “strongly resist” any plans to build a multi-million pound bridge through the heart of its campus.

Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, principal of Robert Gordon University, has said the institution would look to “secure a plan” to keep a new bridge over the River Dee, away from its grounds.

Council chiefs unveiled three designs last year – all of which would retain the 16th-century bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

One option – known as Concept 6 – would involve a dual carriageway link road between Garthdee Road and the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee route. A second, Concept 6B, contains every element of Concept 6, with the addition of a new link road between Inchgarth Road and the A93 North Deeside Road.

Prof Von Prondzynski is opposed to the first two designs which would see a new bridge built over the Dee and joining Garthdee.

He told the Evening Express: “If such a bridge were to be built in that location it would have a hugely damaging impact on RGU, which the university would have to resist strongly.

“But I am confident that we will be able to secure a plan, if one is needed, that would keep any bridge away from the university’s campus and which would not damage the Garthdee community.”

The professor has added his voice to others in the community opposed to the proposed routes cutting through Garthdee.

Paul O’Connor, chairman of Inchgarth Community Centre in Garthdee, has slammed concepts 6 and 6B. He has previously said it would be “catastrophically unacceptable” to build a bridge through the heart of Garthdee.

A third design is also on the table. Concept 7 – which the local authority’s SNP group supports and has made a key campaign pledge in the run up to the local election – would include a new arch crossing alongside the existing Bridge of Dee.

Plans were also recently approved to consider a four-lane bridge over the River Dee instead of only examining six-lane options.

That plan is supported by the local SNP group, which has pledged to build a new bridge over the Dee within the next five years if returned in May’s elections

The Lib Dems also support building a bridge next to the existing structure while the local Conservative group has no official position on the plans.

Labour wants to wait for traffic assessments to be completed following the completion of the AWPR before a decision is made.

A recent report to city councillors said the scheme’s cost, at 2010 prices, were Concept 6 from £62 million to £86m, option 6B from £71m to £96m, and option 7 from £71m to £89m.

The report added there is, on balance, public support for Concept 7, whereas there is, on balance, public opposition to Concepts 6 and 6B.

In terms of cumulative environmental impact, Concept 7 is considered to perform marginally more favourably than Concepts 6 and 6B.

Historic Environment Scotland indicated it recognises the need for improvements in road network capacity in the Bridge of Dee area, and would not object to Concept 7 if there is a “clear rationale” to support that decision.

Despite the concept bridges being examined, Aberdeen City Council budget papers revealed last month there is no provision in the council’s current capital programme to deliver a new bridge over the River Dee.