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A944

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A944
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (33)
From:  Aberdeen (NJ939070)
To:  Colnabaichin (NJ293086)
Via:  Alford
Distance:  50.3 miles (80.9 km)
Meets:  A96, B986, B985, A978, A92, B9119, A90, B979, B9126, B977, B993, B992, A980, A97, A939
Former Number(s):  B983, B973
Old route now:  B9119
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Aberdeen • Aberdeenshire

Traditional Counties

Aberdeenshire

Route outline (key)
A944 Aberdeen – Mossat
(A97) Mossat – Heugh Head
A944 Heugh Head – Colnabaichin

The A944 is a long A-road in two sections, running inland from Aberdeen to Alford and then following Strathdon West into the eastern slopes of the Cairngorms.

Route

Aberdeen - Westhill

The route starts at the Mounthooly Roundabout on the north side of Aberdeen City Centre, and follows Hutcheon Street and Westburn Road westwards. After a large signalised crossroads with the Argyll Place, the former A978 (now unclassified) the road widens to dual carriageway as it passes Aberdeen Royal Infimary to reach the old City Ring Road (A92 North Anderson Drive). So far, much of the route has been a densely built urban mixture of housing and business premises to the south, facing onto parkland and hospital grounds to the north. After crossing the A92 at a large signalised crossroads, the development steps back behind tree lined grass verges, with post war housing estates, supermarkets and industrial areas set back behind the trees. This is the Lang Stracht (to the Sassenach - ‘long straight’) out of the City: this wide road should be a two-lane dual carriageway but instead it is a single carriageway with a bewildering series of bus lanes, hatched areas, lane changes and traffic lights.

The edge of the city comes quite unexpectedly. A new signalised crossroads with Maidencraig Way provides access to the new housing developments, but soon the speed limit increases to 40 and open fields lie to either side of the road as it curves round to the south on a link road built in the 1980s. Here it meets the A9119 at a roundabout - until the 1980s, this was the route of the A944 along Queen's Road and Skene Road, and so the road returns to its original route. The A944 becomes a dual carriageway again as it continues west, bypassing Kingswells which is accessed from a roundabout, with a busy park and ride facility. The buses are able to use a restricted Bus Gate on the old Lang Stracht which joins the A944 at the City end of the link road mentioned above. Part-time traffic lights operate at rush hour along here, as this is an extremely busy commuter route. Immediately after the roundabout are traffic lights controlling access to and from the Prime Four business park.

Approaching the new A90 bypass junction

Around half a mile further on, lies the large new Kingswells South Junction for the A90 Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, otherwise known as the Aberdeen bypass, which crosses over the A944 on a flyover. The roundabout itself has seven exits in total, with several local roads and property accesses being diverted here to remove gaps in the central reservation. The dual carriageway continues beyond the roundabout towards Westhill. The next major junction is a set of traffic lights at the eastern end of the town (formerly a roundabout, remodelled in 2014), where the B9119 forks left. The recently-extended dual carriageway continues for a half a mile to the Westhill Roundabout.

Westhill - Mossat

From the Westhill roundabout the route continues west, winding through woodland between the town to the north and its industrial park to the south. Westhill is an entirely new town developed as a commuter town for Aberdeen, and it has spread to include the former village of Elrick, which the A944 still passes through on Straik Road. Westhill continues beyond Elrick, although once more set back behind trees, with two roundabouts providing access to the housing estates. It then heads into open country, winding through fields dotted with houses and on past the Loch of Skene, with its dramatic pair of tower houses on the north shore. The loch is then hidden by woodland, beyond which the road follows the Corskie Burn around some sweeping bends to the small village of Dunecht, where the B977 crosses with a short multiplex. A long straight then leads through Tillybrig Wood, after which it becomes twistier again past Kinnernie and Sauchen.

Near Tillyfourie

Since leaving Aberdeen, the road has undulated gently through the hills, but it now begins a more concerted climb, through Ordhead and Millbank, where the B993 joins from the south for a multiplex to Tillyfourie. The summit of nearly 190m is then reached as the road runs between the forests of Corrennie and Pitfichie. A short sharp descent drops the road out of the trees and into the Howe of Alford, a bowl of open farmland surrounded by hills, with the market town of Alford at its centre. After the tiny village of Whitehouse, a series of short straights lead into the town, with a long line of ribbon development sitting between the road and old railway line on the approach. Aberdeen Road becomes Main Street and then Donside Road as the A944 passes through the pretty town, home to the Grampian Transport Museum.

At the west edge of the town. a newly-aligned section of A944 takes traffic smoothly down the hill, past the junction with the A980, which heads south to Banchory. This was formerly a TOTSO, with A944 westbound traffic having to turn right. The A944 continues to drop down over the River Don at Bridge of Alford, before turning sharply left on the north bank of the river. Heading west again, the route follows the meandering Don, shortcutting many of its loops as it slowly leaves the Howe of Alford behind. As the hills close in a little, the open farmland gives way to patches of woodland and forestry, with hill fields between. When the road is at its closest to the river, the banks are often tree-lined, hiding the water, and then when least expected, the road is the river bank, propped up on a stone wall. The river then turns away to the south, while the road follows the Mossat Burn north west to meet the A97 at The Mossat Shop.

Mossat - Corgarff

Until the 1980s the Mossat junction was the western end of the A944. However, after a multiplex of almost 10 miles with the A97 the A944 now reappears on the south side of the Don at Deskry Bridge, where the A97 turns off to the south. The road winds westwards, recrossing the Don at the Bridge of Newe, passing through small fields and patches of woodland to the small, scattered village of Strathdon. As it turns to the south west, the road climbs out of the village, and away from the river, crossing the 300m contour for the first time. A windy section through the forest follows, before the road dips down to the Inverernan Bridge, which is followed by a pleasant run along the river bank through the forest.

Eastern end of the A944

As the river meanders away from the road, wide green fields lie in the space between, and the road follows a long loop around Lonach Hill. The next section is perhaps the most scenic of the whole route as the road and river meander through a mixture of woodland, small forested areas and hill fields. The hills to either side of the valley are just as varied in character, offering a mixture of wooded slopes and open moorland, although the final summits sit back out of sight. A few scattered farms sit to either side of the road, and a couple lie on the far side of the river, accessed from forest roads or private bridges. Before long, however, the A944 comes to it final end, meeting the A939 at Colnabaichin near Corgarff. As at Deskry, this junction is a TOTSO, with the A944 maintaining priority westwards towards the Lechd, while the A939 turns off south to cross the hills to Deeside.

History

As noted above, there have been a number of changes to the A944 over the years, mostly occurring in the 1980s. Its original start point in Aberdeen was at the western end of Union Street, which was the A92 at the time. It headed west along Albyn Place to meet Queens Road, now the A9119. The current route of the A9119 then follows the original A944 out to Kingswells, although the A944 followed Old Skene Road a little to the north of its current line. The A944 was re-routed onto its current route out of Aberdeen in the late 1980s and the new link road from Maidencraigs was built sometime later, replacing the western end of the former B983. This route was originally the B989 along Hutcheon Street, then the B986 as far as Victoria Park, after which it was unclassified out to North Anderson Drive. Lang Stracht was the B983.

The onward route out to Alford appears to largely be on line, with only very minor improvements along the way. However, between Alford and Bridge of Alford, the road was realigned c2012, with the old route still open as a cycle track, and with property access from a new junction towards the eastern end. The old road therefore lies further down the hill at first, and then met the A980 at a crossroads where the A944 had to TOTSO left to drop down the hill to the bridge. The final changes to the A944 lie at the western end, where it has been extended after a lengthy multiplex with the A97 to Corgarff. This section was previously the B973 but was renumbered between 1988 and 1993, following a campaign by the local Community Council to get its classification upgraded.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Mossat - Afford - Aberdeen





A944
Junctions
Crossings
Roads
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (33)
Car crossing Bridge of Newe - Geograph - 260131.jpgColnabaichin-br2.jpgA90 AWPR - Kingswells South Junction - SB on-slip.jpgA939 Corgarff - Advance direction sign from north.jpgA939 Corgarff - Weight limit diversion sign.jpg
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