Today, Councillor Gavin Corbett along with Scottish Canals and Sustrans, gathered at Leamington Lift Bridge, marking over 100,000 visits since its reopening in July.
Catherine Topley and Robert McGregor of Scottish Canals joined representatives from Sustrans Scotland and bridge contractor Amco Giffen at the popular pedestrian bridge to celebrate with the Edinburgh City Councillor.
Leamington Lift Bridge was closed to boating traffic in 2018 after being identified as a public safety and operational risk. Extensive repair work was able to commence thanks to a windfall of £350,000 awarded through Sustrans Scotland’s National Cycle Network Development Programme, funded by the Scottish Government, allowing this well-utilised commuter route to become operational again.
Thanks to Scottish Government funding, Scottish Canals was able to preserve the existing structure of the 122-year old lift bridge. Works included upgrading the lifting mechanism, and creating an alternative pedestrian access route across the canal whilst the bridge was closed to public access. The bridge reopened on 26th July 2019.
Catherine Topley, Chief Executive at Scottish Canals, said: ‘We would like to extend our thanks to Sustrans Scotland and the Scottish Government for the funding award, to our Councillor Gavin Corbett for being our ‘Canal Champion’ and to all the local residents and canal users for their support during the works period. Safety is always our first priority, but it’s great when investments like this mean the canals can be used to their fullest extent by the public’.
The Union Canal towpath at Edinburgh Quay receives over 1 million visits per year, with an average of over 300 cyclists per day opting to use this National Cycle Network route. Since the Leamington Lift Bridge reopened in late July, over 100,000 walkers, cyclists, joggers and commuters have tread the towpath here.
Local councillor and Edinburgh City Canal Champion Gavin Corbett said:
“The word ‘iconic’ is used a lot to describe parts of our city but it is really true for the Lift Bridge and what it means for the Union Canal within Edinburgh. There had been fears that its days were numbered and it would be no more than a museum piece after a century of gracing Fountainbridge, especially when there are so few other remaining reminders of the area’s industrial past. So I am delighted that is has been restored to full working order and I look forward to it being a big part of the Union Canal’s bicentenary in 2022 and beyond.”
Built in 1906, Leamington Lift Bridge is constructed from a wooden deck that can be raised between two gantries to give a clearance of 9 feet (2.7 m) below. Whilst the bridge is not open to cars, there is a lattice girder footbridge, which allows pedestrians to cross when the deck is raised for boats.
Find out more about the bridge and other Scottish Canals projects by visiting the Assets section of our website.