Squiggly Bridge now on target

15 Sep 2008

by Iain Lundy, Evening Times

A major project to rejuvenate part of Glasgow city centre is on course to be completed by the end of the year.

And the latest bridge across the Clyde - which has been dogged by troubles and delays - is expected to be ready for use by Spring of next year.

Planners say the £33million scheme to improve the riverside at Tradeston and Broomielaw will make the area more attractive.

A footbridge - dubbed the Squiggly Bridge because of its unusual S-shaped design - will be on the stretch of the river between Dalmarnock and the Science Centre.

It will link the Broomielaw, now part of the International Financial Services District (IFSD), with Tradeston which is being rejuvenated as a desirable place to live.

Already there are signs the improvement on both banks and the bridge, officially called the Tradeston Bridge, can be seen taking shape at last.

Its progress- and the news it will be ready by Spring - will come as a major relief after repeated reports the project was in difficulty.

In 2006, councillors scrapped plans for the bridge when costs soared to £60m.

Designers were told to go back to the drawing board and come up with a simpler design that would be cheaper.

Then last September it emerged preparatory work on the southern bank quay walls was running six months late after they collapsed.

Earlier this year it was reported the bridge - originally due to be in place by October - could come in a full year late due to wranglings between contractors.

The dispute resulted in only a fraction of the steel needed being ordered.

But a council spokesman said today confirmed the bridge is now on track to be completed by next Spring.

He added: "Progress with both aspects of the project is satisfactory and the end result will be a high quality development which will complement the continuing success of the IFSD and the regeneration of the Clyde."

He said both banks of the river were being surfaced in a high quality natural stone which continued the theme begun by the paving of the streets in the financial district.

There will also be high quality parapets and street lighting with some seating areas and feature trees.

Most of the work being done is not immediately visible such as strengthening the quay walls and installing flood prevention and drainage systems. But road surfacing and the laying of walkways along the banks is progressing.

Pilings and bridge supports are now visible and a crane has been carrying out the work to strengthen the quay wall.

A temporary jetty has also been put in place on the north bank. The bridge spans just over 106 metres and two piers in the river split the crossing into three spans - 29, 51 and 26 metres.

It is seen not only as a key part of the overall regeneration of the Clyde and the IFSD but also of Tradeston - providing a link by foot to the city centre.

Future work there will see apartment blocks, offices and shops, restaurants, bars, a creche and a fitness suite.

Tradeston saw a downturn in its fortunes with the demise of the shipbuilding industry.

Its rebirth as a residential area is being plotted by Irish developers John and Noel Smyth, fresh from successful work at Dublin's Docklands.

Councillor George Ryan said: "This new bridge and the public space around it will be the next step in the regeneration of the Clydeside.

"The project will make the IFSD even more attractive to business and create a pleasant environment for visitors to the Clydeside as well as a new link between the city centre and Tradeston."

The bridge will be the first over the Clyde to be opened since the ill-fated Clyde Arc - or Squinty Bridge.

A year after it opened the £20m structure had to be closed for six months when one of its supporting cables crashed on to the road.

Reproduced with the permission of The Evening Times (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • Artist's impression supplied by Glasgow City Council