Bowling “Highline” reaches construction milestone

A construction milestone has been reached in the creation of a new linear park, inspired by New York City’s High Line, at the western gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal.

The project, which Scottish Canals have called The Bowline, will see the development of Bowling’s historic viaduct – transforming the former railway line into a fully accessible linear park and pathway that directly links the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath and the National Cycle Network route towards Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

The latest project milestone has been reached with an access ramp being delivered to the site. The ramp which was manufactured in the central belt of Scotland by Coatbridge Engineering has now made the journey west to Bowling Harbour. Now on site the principal contractor, Mackenzie Construction Limited, will undertake the monumental task of installing the ramp as part of the larger project being delivered. The installation of the ramp will connect the new active travel bridge to the lower level which houses local businesses, improving access for everyone walking, wheeling and cycling.

“Scottish Canals is committed to creating one of a kind destinations across Scotland’s canal network and Bowling Harbour’s journey of transformation is a great example of this.

“The new ramp will connect active travellers passing through Bowling to the local businesses located in the renovated arches, boosting the local economy and supporting new jobs.”

Catherine Topley, CEO, of Scottish Canals

Construction of the Bowline at Bowling Harbour began in 2017, with the essential repairs to the historic viaduct structure and associated swing bridge which forms a focal point of the canal basin. The most recent phase of works has been impacted with COVID-19 restrictions and works have been replanned around the necessary restrictions. Scottish Canals are especially pleased to have reached the milestone of the delivery of the steel access ramp which will form a new contemporary feature to this historic asset, providing full accessibility to all users and opening up new views to the surrounding landscape.

John Lauder, Deputy CEO of Sustrans, said: “Sustrans is delighted to support this exciting project along National Cycle Network Route 7 through our Places for Everyone and Network Development funds, both of which are funded by Transport Scotland.

The Bowline project is another key step on Scotland’s journey towards transforming the National Cycle Network into a true network of accessible and available paths for everyone; connecting cities, towns and countryside, loved by the communities they serve.”

Bowling Harbour’s viaduct swing bridge was constructed in 1896 to carry the Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Railway over the Forth & Clyde Canal. After the railway was abandoned in 1960, the bridge fell into disrepair. The project was made possible with the funding support from Sustrans, Historic Environment Scotland, West Dunbartonshire Council and Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER.

The latest stage in the transformation of Bowling Harbour, undertaken in partnership with the local community, has brought new businesses, activity, vibrancy and economic benefits to the canal and celebrated Bowling’s important role as western gateway to the Lowland canal network.

This is an important step forward in Scottish Canals’ plans for regenerating the area and bringing the vision for the harbour to fruition. The project will be opened to the public in summer next year with more announcements nearer the time to follow.

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