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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (35)
From:  Cleanhill (NJ931007)
To:  Bridge of Don (NJ947107)
Via:  Aberdeen Harbour
Distance:  11.2 miles (18 km)
Meets:  A90, A92, A945, A93, A9013, A96, B990, A978, B997, A92
Former Number(s):  B982, A945, A946, A92
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties

Aberdeenshire • Kincardineshire

Route outline (key)
A956 Cleanhill - Charlestown
A956 Charlestown - Bridge of Don

The A956 is a route which started off as a fairly insignificant link in southern Aberdeen, and has since been extended at both ends. It now forms the southern leg of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, and thereafter continues as a major through route through Tullos and the City Centre, terminating on the A92 at Bridge of Don in the north of the city.


Looking east at Charleston Interchange

The A956 starts life at an at-grade roundabout on the A90 at Cleanhill to the southwest of the city. Initially it's a high quality dual carriageway, with emergency lay-bys, and no access to fields or properties as it speeds along to the south of the city for approximately 4 miles to meet the A92 at Charleston. This section is a trunk road and is also a Special Road (with traffic limited to classes I and II). Charleston Interchange was, until 2018, the starting point of the A956, and used to be a trumpet with freeflow access to the city. However, in order to accommodate the new road it was rebuilt as a diamond junction (the A92 continuing unimpeded underneath), with traffic lights on the A956 mainline to control access to and from the sliproads.

Continuing east, the road loses its trunk and Special Road status, but remains dualled as it curves along Wellington Road past Loirston Loch (and across a corner of the loch on a small causeway; the old road round the edge of the loch can still be driven, although vegetation has narrowed it). The A956 has seen a lot of development in recent years, and soon reaches another set of traffic lights providing access to Cove, followed by the first of many roundabouts, providing access to some of the vast industrial areas between Cove and the city centre. The B985 is crossed at the next roundabout, beyond which side turnings become the norm, the busier junctions being signalised. After going over the railway line the road reaches the River Dee and narrows to S2, with a city bound bus lane, as it curves along the embankment. It becomes dual again just before the next roundabout, which turns the road to cross the Dee on Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

The former A945 is met at the next roundabout on the north bank of the river and the A956 turns right to follow the river bank along the North Esplanade into the docks. At the north end of Victoria Bridge, it turns left at a set of traffic lights onto Market Street, which cuts across the heads of the docks. It then TOTSOs right at another set of lights at the former eastern end of the A93 onto Trinity Quay and Virginia Street, which Marischal Street crosses on a bridge. Now leaving the docks behind, there is yet another TOTSO at traffic lights from Virginia Street onto Commerce Street, the former A946. After a roundabout, from where an unclassified D2 road leads out to Aberdeen Beach, the A956 meets the eastern end of the A96 head on at lights and TOTSOs right, running down King Street. The route around the docks area is all dualled, and much of it lined with modern buildings but King Street is single carriageway, with a city bound bus lane and lined with old granite terraces home to shops and businesses.

Ellon Road, Bridge of Don

King Street is a long straight road which runs almost due north out to the northern suburbs. The terraces give way to detached and semi detached villas, with lots of modern infill and redevelopment. The headquarters of FirstBus and their Aberdeen depot are here. The busier junctions are signalised, and there is a roundabout for the B990 junction in Old Aberdeen. Half a mile or so further on, the road widens again just before crossing the Bridge of Don. Now following Ellon Road, the A956 continues to wind north, meeting the B997 at a modified roundabout serving Bridge of Don to the left and a housing estate to the right. Northbound traffic has priority over circulating traffic here, as right turning traffic causes delays for those heading out of the city at peak times. The A92 is then met at Parkway Roundabout, where the A956 terminates. The A92 TOTSOs here, coming in from the West on the left but taking over the line of the A956 northwards.


The A956 came into being in 1924 when it took over the B982, which ran from the A92 in Marywell, almost a mile south of the current interchange with the A92, to the A945 on the northern end of Aberdeen's Victoria Bridge. It was a primary (but not trunk) road, signed to Aberdeen Harbour.

The south end of the road was moved to the present interchange location when the A92 was realigned and dualled in about 1979. At its north end it was moved from Victoria Bridge to cross the Dee further upstream on the new Queen Elizabeth Bridge when that was built in the early 1980s. It has been suggested that the A956 briefly crossed the parallel Wellington Suspension Bridge before the Queen Elizabeth Bridge was opened, but it seems unlikely as traffic on the suspension bridge was very restricted.

Virginia Street, previously quite a narrow street, was dualled around 1981/82, and was certainly part of the A956 by 1991. Our road may have taken over the part of the A945 from the Queen Elizabeth Bridge onwards when that bridge opened, but this is uncertain. Following the rerouting of the A92 onto Anderson Drive and the Parkway in the early 1990s, the A956 was extended north along that road's former route on King Street and through Bridge of Don. The rerouted A92 was subsequently renumbered as the A90 in 1996, only to regain the A92 number in 2018. As part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project, the A956 was extended west from Charleston Interchange to Cleanhill Roundabout, continuing to provide a link to the A90. This link opened on 12th December 2018.

Opening Dates

Year Section Notes
1962 Loirston Loch Diversion The diversion over a corner of the loch was expected to be ready by winter per the Mearns Leader of 24 August 1962. It may have opened in 1963.
1969 Nigg: Wellington Road Dualling The 0.67 mile online dualling of Wellington Road from Polworth Road to Redmoss Road, Nigg and the reconstruction of the railway bridge was completed in 1969 per the 1969 Scottish Development Department Report.


Related Pictures
View gallery (35)
A956 - Coppermine - 2183.jpgA956 AWPR - Haremoss looking east zoomed.jpgA956 AWPR - Bishopton looking - 53-3E marker post.jpgA90 AWPR - Cleanhill Roundabout - near aerial from south.jpgBridge of Don from the east.jpg
Other nearby roads
NCN1 • NCN195 • A90 • A92 • A93 • A96 • A943 • A944 • A945 • A946 • A947 • A974 • A978 • A9011 • A9012 • A9013 • A9103 • A9119 • Angus Coastal Tourist Route • B979 • B982 • B983 • B983 (Wapping Street - North Anderson Drive) • B984 • B984 (Mastrick - Bucksburn) • B985 • B985 (Carden Place) • B985 (Union Street - Westburn Road) • B986 • B987 (Aberdeen) • B988 • B988 (Justice Street) • B989 • B990 • B991 • B991 (Bedford Road) • B997 • B999 • B9077 • B9119 • C127C (Aberdeen) • C154C (Aberdeen) • C155C (Aberdeen) • C156C (Aberdeen) • C157C (Aberdeen) • C158C (Aberdeen) • C159C (Aberdeen) • C20C (Aberdeen) • C21C (Aberdeen) • C48C (Aberdeen) • C5K (Aberdeen) • C88C (Aberdeen) • C8K (Aberdeen) • Deeside Tourist Route • E120 (Old System) • EuroVelo 1 • EuroVelo 12 • Highland Tourist Route • North East 250 • North East Coastal Trail • T30 (Britain) • T100 (Britain)
A900 • A901 • A902 • A903 • A904 • A905 • A906 • A907 • A908 • A909 • A910 • A911 • A912 • A913 • A914 • A915 • A916 • A917 • A918 • A919

A920 • A921 • A922 • A923 • A924 • A925 • A926 • A927 • A928 • A929 • A930 • A931 • A932 • A933 • A934 • A935 • A936 • A937 • A938 • A939
A940 • A941 • A942 • A943 • A944 • A945 • A946 • A947 • A948 • A949 • A950 • A951 • A952 • A953 • A954 • A955 • A956 • A957 • A958 • A959
A960 • A961 • A962 • A963 • A964 • A965 • A966 • A967 • A968 • A969 • A970 • A971 • A972 • A973 • A974 • A975 • A976 • A977 • A978 • A979
A980 • A981 • A982 • A983 • A984 • A985 • A986 • A987 • A988 • A989 • A990 • A991 • A992 • A993 • A994 • A995 • A996 • A997 • A998 • A999

Defunct Itineries: A920 (Perth) • A920 (Banff) • A921 (Perth) • A921 (Fife) • A922 • A949 • A951 • A968 • A982

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