Work taking place in front of Marischal College as part of Broad Street re-development

Investigative work is being carried out this week on the paved area in front of Marischal College this week as part of the preparations for Broad Street being turned into a pedestrian-priority street.

Contractors on behalf of Aberdeen City Council have cordoned off an area today and will start the work by hand excavating in the planter area and then move onto the slabs.

The areas will be contained by fencing and appropriate signage, and the investigative works are anticipated to take no longer than one week, dependant on services and ground conditions.

The work being carried out to Broad Street is designed to revitalise it as part of the City Centre Masterplan which is aimed at transforming the City Centre over the next 25 years. The major works to Broad Street are to start in earnest next month.

City council deputy leader councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, said: “We are very excited about the start of the work to Broad Street which will help transform this part of the City Centre to help make it more pedestrian-friendly and a more attractive place to visit and work.

“The investigative work should be finished quickly and there shouldn’t be too much disruption as it’s on the paved area outside Marischal College.

“We look forward to the changes happening in the area as part of the City Centre Masterplan project.”

The designs for the work have taken into consideration people with sensory disabilities and mobility issues, with thought put into the colour, texture and the overall design of the footways and roads so they are distinguishable.

Informal pedestrian crossing points are identified with tactile paving on the footway and be paved in a contrasting material to assist in identifying them to people with visual impairment. The design also takes into consideration tree heights, car parking, street lighting and street furniture.

The plans include a transformed and improved streetscape which will extend to Union Street and include the Gallowgate/Upperkirkgate junction, creating an area with interest, vibrancy and vitality.

The design’s key points include a water feature, a raised grass planter giving a space to relax and enjoy the view of Marischal College, several trees to introduce greenery, and granite bench seating defining some of the areas.

The space, which will be buses-only for traffic and a shared footway for pedestrians and cyclists, can be used for a range of events that can be programmed throughout the year.

There will also be improvements in lighting to Marischal College allowing greater flexibility in uplighting and ‘theming’ the building. The Robert the Bruce statue will remain in its original position, and servicing for events will be built into the scheme to allow for a multi-use space.

The design includes the shared pedestrian/cycle pavement extending towards Union Street with the existing Caithness paving, the traffic lights at Upperkirkgate and Gallowgate to be removed and replaced with a shared surface for vehicles and a roundel (a mini-roundabout with a road surface feature that indicates roundabout driving rules apply and pedestrians are given priority), and a Toucan crossing (pedestrian/cycle crossing) created at the Union Street/Broad Street junction.

The plans were given the go-ahead at a Full Council meeting on Thursday 6 October where councillors agreed to a detailed design of what the pedestrian-priority area will have in it.

The work comprises of a six-month programme, with Broad Street between Upperkirkgate and Queen Street closed for the entire duration.

The cost of the design work, traffic order and construction is likely to be met in full by the money contributed by Muse for public realm work on Broad Street, Sustrans contribution, developer obligations money to improve Core Paths, and CCMP capital money.