Bridge restrictions & operational changes

Following the temporary suspension of boat transits through Twechar and Bonnybridge lift bridges on the Forth & Clyde Canal, we’re undertaking further technical investigations.

Updates on both bridges, as well as the outcome of our inspection of the bascule bridge in Knightswood, can be found below.

This page also contains important information on changes to navigational arrangements of the Lowland Canals.

This page will be updated with further information as it becomes available.

Update 6 April 2018

Detailed investigations of the bridges are planned for later this month in order to determine the scale of repairs required and allow us to work up technical solutions.

We are confident we will be able to implement a short-term fix to allow occasional operation of the bridges while we work to source the funding necessary for long-term repairs.

Twechar Lift Bridge

We will carry out a detailed investigation that, if all goes well, could lead to a short-term repair. While we will not have the necessary resources for a comprehensive repair these works may allow us to safely operate the bridge for this season on a limited basis and subject to health and safety. Works are due to start in approximately three weeks and should be complete by mid-April.

Bonnybridge Lift Bridge

We will explore an approach that will either allow the bridge to open on a one-off basis or on very rare occasions. It is unlikely we will find a solution that allows normal use until additional funds are available, however, these works will ensure that any boat owner who is currently affected can move to a different location should they wish to do so.

Bascule Bridge, Knightswood

We will also be temporarily suspending the bascule bridge at Bard Avenue on the Forth & Clyde Canal near Knightswood for safety reasons. Earlier inspections had shown that all the bascule bridges on the Lowland canals require some improvement works, although this particular bridge was in the worst condition. We had committed money in our 2019/20 budget to make improvements, however a recent inspection has shown that, while it is safe for pedestrians to use, its condition has further deteriorated and is currently not safe to operate. We will work with partners to raise the necessary funds for repairs to be carried out.

Operational changes

A review of boaters’ patterns of using the Lowland canals shows that certain days and times are more popular than others and that if we refine our customer service we can free up our staff to undertake much needed maintenance work on the canals.

With 50 sea to sea transits last year on the Lowland canals and the temporary suspension of Bonnybridge and Twechar lift bridges affecting navigation, it makes good business sense to trial a different way of operating this year. This forms part of wider review of the way Scottish Canals can best meet customer demand with the resources available to us which also includes the proposed move to user operations on the Lowland canals in 2019.

The new operational times and method of operating for each area, effective from 1st May 2018, are listed below.

On the days and times that are green on the timetable a member of staff will be available to provide the range of customer services at that location. In 2019 we plan to introduce a web-based booking system which will make it easier for customers to book in advance.

We will operate this as a trial for the 2018 season, reviewing and adapting, where suitable, in line with boater feedback. Outwith the times shown on the schedule, we will do our best to accommodate extraordinary requests, for example vessels that wish to attend a canal festival or flotilla but this will be done with the resources available.

We believe we have reflected customer demand in the times and days that are listed below. However, if you think the times proposed for this trial do not accurately reflect historic patterns of customer use in your location, please let us know by emailing Paula Carson via

Download a printable PDF of the updated operational hours here.

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