Leamington Lift Bridge Used by over 100,000 Since Reopening

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.

“The Leamington Lift Bridge is critically important for both boating traffic and for those who choose to walk and cycle the Union Canal towpath as part of the National Cycle Network and their everyday journeys.

“I’m pleased the Scottish Government has been able to support these crucial repair works through Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Canals and it is clear that this historic location remains relevant today with over 100,000 people choosing to walk, cycle and commute across the upgraded bridge since July.

“The work that Scottish Canals and Sustrans Scotland continues to undertake directly contributes to our response to the climate emergency – encouraging more sustainable and active travel in our towns and cities through high quality infrastructure.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

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.

Notes to Editors

About Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Union, Monkland, Forth & Clyde, Crinan and Caledonian Canals. As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for bridges, buildings, locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

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; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles. The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year.

For more information, visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter.

For further information, please contact:

Kimberley Manderson at Scottish Canals, on 07976 526 694 or email Kimberley.Manderson@scottishcanals.co.uk

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

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