WORK has started on a £12 million active travel bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal that will link three communities in north west Glasgow for the first time since the waterway opened in 1790.
The Stockingfield Junction project, near Lochburn Road, will also feature an embankment park.
The bridge is due for completion in summer 2022 and will be of a curved design with a viewing platform. The main foundation pile will be on the east bank at Ruchill sweeping west to Gilshochill and south to Maryhill.
As part of construction, sections of the Forth and Clyde and Glasgow Branch canal towpaths will be closed at Stockingfield Junction from November to approximately July 2022. Active travel diversion routes will be highlighted before the closure.
The development is being delivered by Scottish Canals with funding from Sustrans and the Glasgow City Council Vacant Derelict Land Fund.
At present, walkers and cyclists heading between the Bishopbriggs/Kirkintilloch/Falkirk side of the canal between Maryhill and Speirs Wharf, and vice versa, have to go via steep slopes and a narrow tunnel under the canal shared with vehicles on Lochburn Road.
The bridge will reconnect the towpaths which were severed following construction of the Bowling canal branch in the late 18th Century.
Catherine Topley, chief executive Scottish Canals, said: “The future successful development of the communities of Maryhill, Ruchill and Gilshochill is dependent on access to services, facilities and employment. This new bridge will help open up access to all of these while significantly improving active travel options along the canal.
“This will be an iconic structure helping to attract people into the area while encouraging even more people to use the canal as a means of getting around the city.”
Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “It’s great to see work commencing on an exciting new bridge for the Forth and Clyde Canal at Stockingfield Junction.
“Funded by the Scottish Government through the Sustrans Places for Everyone programme, this new bridge will offer people living and visiting north Glasgow better walking, wheeling and cycling connectivity than before.
“The Stockingfield Bridge will make it even easier for the communities of Maryhill, Ruchill and Gilshochill to get around locally in a sustainable way, as well as accessing the fantastic nature reserve at Possil Marsh. At the same time, it completes a missing link in the National Cycle Network Route 754, which offers a traffic-free route between Glasgow and Edinburgh via the spectacular Falkirk Wheel.
“We’re continuing to invest in permanent active travel infrastructure to help make walking, wheeling and cycling the easy choice for everyday journeys. Scotland’s Canals are uniquely suited to support this ambition and we are lucky to benefit from these historic assets.
“For our health, wellbeing and to respond to the climate emergency, we’ll continue to support similar projects across Scotland as we work to build an Active Nation.”
Karen McGregor, director of Scotland for Sustrans, said: “Sustrans is delighted to be supporting the construction of the new Stockingfield bridge though our Places for Everyone scheme. The new bridge will open up opportunities for local people and make it easier to travel along the canal, whether you walk, wheel or cycle. It’s fantastic to bring the communities of Maryhill, Ruchill and Gilshochill back together.”