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Construction starts on new multi-million pound accessible path network in Arbroath

Project partners gathered this week in Arbroath to celebrate the beginning of construction a new and ambitious £14m walking, wheeling and cycling network set to transform active journeys across the town.

On Wednesday 3rd April, construction officially began on the landmark Arbroath A Place for Everyone project.

The £14m project, £10.7m of which has been awarded through Sustrans Scotland’s Scottish Government-backed Places for Everyone programme, is set to deliver a transformative network of all new walking, wheeling and cycling routes throughout the town.

This aims to neatly link up key travel destinations, such as shopping areas and schools, as well as popular tourist sites.

The project will also conveniently tie with National Cycle Network Route 1, which runs along the seafront from Dundee and up to Aberdeen, further cementing links between settlements along the coast.

Backed by extensive engagement with the local community, the emerging work is expected to help foster the conditions for a significant boost to the local economy via increased footfall to businesses and an uptick in tourism to the seafront.

Once completed, it is hoped by many that the project will serve as the backbone for future active travel initiatives in the area.

History in the making

Designs for Guthrie Port include tree and wildflower planting as well as public seating areas. Angus Council ©2023

The delivery of the Arbroath project has been hotly anticipated by many for some time, with early community consultation dating back to 2015.

Financial support was initially received in 2019 via Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, which at the time made Arbroath the first town in Scotland to receive such a high level of funding through the Scottish government-backed scheme.

Years of careful design and planning work, informed by and acting on feedback from the local community, were then carried out between the partnership of Sustrans, Angus Council, and Arcadis.

Following this process, proposals are now being taken forward to create:

  • A new 1.5km, segregated cycleway alongside the A92 dual carriageway from the West Links area of the town to Arbroath Abbey, with a link-in to Brockthock Bridge. 
  • Redesigned junctions and crossings, making it safer and easier to walk, wheel and cycle. 
  • As well as new seating and landscapes, improving the accessibility of public spaces and encourage safer walking, wheeling and cycling options throughout the town
The junction at Brockock Bridge includes a new bidirectional cycleway with strategic crossings. Angus Council ©2023

Current traffic levels showed that large parts of the project could be achieved by repurposing parts of the A92 dual carriageway, which has long created a sense of division across Arbroath.

Working in tandem with the local community, the proposed designs were gradually enhanced, including the introduction of temporary trial measures in 2021 to help those living and working in the town get a feel for the project.

Celebrating strong partnership

Despite a persistent downpour outside the Signal Tower Museum, the first spade was determinedly dug in by Angus Council Leader Cllr Beth Whiteside.

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director for Sustrans, was witness to the big moment.

“We’re overjoyed to see construction starting on this fantastic project. By delivering new cycle lanes, tree and wildflower planting, as well as paved seating areas in the town, people living and working in Arbroath will be able to walk, wheel and cycle safely, whilst also enjoying a more relaxed and attractive environment.”

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director, Sustrans

Both were joined by Active Travel Spokesperson Cllr Serena Cowdy, as well as Contracts Manager for Balfour Beatty Keith McDonald and Project Manager for Balfour Beatty Tom Truesdale.

“Today’s milestone marks several years of consultation, planning and effort to create and see come to fruition, an ambitious project that will make Arbroath a more desirable place to live in, work in and to visit.”

Councillor Serena Cowdy, Active Travel Spokesperson, Angus Council

There’s a great deal to look forward to over the next year as the project truly starts to take shape, with construction the project is set to be complete by the end of 2025.