Christmas comes early for Leamington Lift Bridge

Leamington Lift Bridge received a festive windfall thanks to £350,000 awarded through Sustrans Scotland’s National Cycle Network Development Programme, funded by the Scottish Government, which will secure this vital part of the National Cycle Network.

The historic structure, which spans The Union Canal at Edinburgh Quay, was identified as an operational risk in September and was then closed to boating traffic and restricted to pedestrians and cyclists.

Funding will preserve the existing structure of this 122-year old lift bridge, which is popular with walkers, cyclists and commuters, with works beginning in early 2019 and scheduled to complete by the summer.

The works will include upgrading the lifting mechanism and creating alternative pedestrian access across the canal while the bridge is closed to public access.

“Thanks to Sustrans, this valuable heritage structure will continue to be used by walkers, cyclists and commuters for many years to come and today’s announcement is testament to the excellent partnership we have with them.

“Edinburgh Quay is an important tourist destination which contributes significantly to the local economy and the canal and its assets are a vital part of what makes it attractive to visitors, residents, businesses and leisure users.”

Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals

The towpath will remain open throughout the works and boats moored in the basin will get an opportunity to move through the bridge. Although the pedestrian access across the bridge may need to close at some point during the works, Scottish Canals will create an alternative route which spans the canal.

Tom Bishop, Head of Network Development at Sustrans Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with our close partners at Scottish Canals to facilitate these works through the National Cycle Network development fund.

“National Cycle Network Routes 75 and 754 are vital links for commuters and visitors to Edinburgh alike, and this programme of repairs to the Leamington Lift Bridge will ensure that this well-loved section of the Union Canal remains a vibrant and inviting place to walk and cycle.”

Edinburgh Canal Champion Cllr Gavin Corbett said: “I am delighted and relieved at this news.  For many, the lift bridge is the most significant symbol of the canal’s industrial past and of the ambitious plans to create a new canalside community at Fountainbridge. To have lost the lift bridge as the Union Canal approaches its bicentenary in 2022 would have been unthinkable.

“I know the work needed is significant and painstaking and it will involve some disruption.  But a long term future for the bridge will make it worthwhile.”

Notes to Editors

Scottish Canals’ notes to the editor:

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Forth & Clyde, Union, Monlands, Caledonian and Crinan Canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See www.ScottishCanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visits per year. See www.scottishcanals.co.uk  for more information

Sustrans Scotland notes to the editor:

  • About Sustrans Scotland
    Sustrans is the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. We connect people and places, create liveable neighbourhoods, transform the school run and deliver a happier, healthier commute. Join us on our journey. www.sustrans.org.uk
  • About Sustrans Scotland’s National Cycle Network development fund
    The National Cycle Network Development Programme is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with local authorities and partners. It develops and maintains the National Cycle Network across Scotland to provide long distance cycling routes, connecting rural communities and promoting tourism.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals, on 07917 217 608 or email Chris.McDonald@scottishcanals.co.uk

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email Nicola.Sturgeon@scottishcanals.co.uk

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