The development of the Stockingfield foot and cycle bridge represents a significant active travel improvement on the Forth & Clyde Canal.
It will provide an important new linkage between the communities of Ruchill, Gilshochill and Maryhill improving access between these communities and also open up routes to the leisure and employment opportunities in the west end and city centre.
The bridge itself is a curved design with a viewing platform and the main foundation pile sits on the east bank at Ruchill sweeping north to Gilshochill and south to Maryhill.
The new crossing allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the canal at towpath level rather than having to exit the towpath to use a potentially dangerous road tunnel, before rejoining the canal towpath again.
Scottish Canals expect that the increased access to the green and blue spaces of the canal in North Glasgow will boost recreational activity in the area. Further landscaping and the artistic style of the bridge will create a prominent structure in the area which will provide increased access for walkers, runners and cyclists.
Stockingfield Bridge is now open, the art installations are being created and developed by the local community. Watch our full-length video below.
Since the bridge's launch, teams and partners behind the Stockingfield Bridge project, have received various awards and commendations for their work.
Structural Steel Design Award, BCSA - British Constructional Steelwork Association, 2023
Project of the Year (under £20m) - Construction News Awards, 2023
Shortlisted for Best Project - Royal Town Planning Institute, Scotland Awards, 2023
Highly Commended - Bridges Awards, 2023
Infrastructure Project of the Year - Scottish Civil Engineering Awards, 2023
People's Choice Award - Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), 2022
The cost of the completed bridge was £13.7 million with an additional £4 million spent on associated landscape works.
Who paid for it?
The project was funded through Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure programme backed by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans with some additional funding from Glasgow City Council. Scottish Canals delivered the project.
The goal of the project was to reconnect the communities of Ruchill, Gilshochill, and Maryhill, and to complete the last link in the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath, bringing a major active travel improvement. The new bridge now allows walkers and cyclists to cross the canal at towpath level rather than having to drop off and negotiate the road tunnel at Lochburn Road before rejoining the path again. The increased access to the canal and the design of the bridge structure with an integrated observation deck and landscaping on this previously underused site will encourage greater use of the canal.
How long has it been in the planning system?
The project had been in the planning system for several years, with extensive local consultation over what shape it would take during this time. Four public workshops were held in 2018 as part of the pre-planning application process.
Considerations given to environmental impact of the project
Considerations were given to the environmental impact of the project. As part of the planning process, a full tree survey and an ecology survey were carried out, and trees and shrubs were reinstated as part of the landscaping work carried out to create a new area of public space. Specifically, 67% of the trees were native, 33% non-native, 50% of the hedges were native, 50% non-native, and 80% of the shrubs were native, and 20% non-native. The project also delivered wildflower meadows, tree-lined boulevards, and grassland areas. In addition, work was undertaken to remove invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed from a number of locations on the site.
During the early stages of the ground work, pile driving was required to reinforce the canal banks, which was noisy but within the required environmental health guidelines, with noise levels checked regularly. The biggest cause of noise was from the sheet piling, which was completed in January 2021. Sheet piling was essential work to hammer in the canalside reinforcements necessary to support the weight of the bridge. Noise was significantly lower after that.
Local job opportunities
The completed bridge will open up more opportunities for people to easily access job opportunities available in the west end, the city centre and further afield. The main contractor on site, Balfour Beatty, ran work experience sessions to encourage local pupils to consider a career in construction. There were also employability and training workshops with Glasgow City Council's employability service and Open Gates, a local social enterprise.
Improvements to Lochburn Road?
Temporary traffic lights were in place at the aqueduct to improve pedestrian road safety.
Extra support to keep the area tidy due to the increased number of visitors to the site
To keep the area tidy due to the increased number of visitors to the site, a team of volunteers was engaged to help look after the area, and Stockingfield Bridge became part of the ongoing routine maintenance programme.
Engagement with the local creative community
Scottish Canals engaged with the local artistic community and set up a task group in early 2021 to focus on this.
Diversion signs were put in place where the towpath was closed, and directional signs were placed at all key junctions. The lengthy diversion was necessary to avoid busy roads and had been fully agreed with active travel partners Sustrans.