Squiggly Bridge unveiled

13 Mar 2009

IT has taken years of wrangling and cost in the region of £7million. But now the latest bridge to span the River Clyde has been revealed in all its "squiggly" glory.

Planners hope the new pedestrian crossing - linking Broomielaw and Tradeston - will go a long way towards breathing new life into one of the most rundown parts of Glasgow.

The structure was lowered into place section by section in December and since then workers have painted it, fitted handrails, fins and floodlights and carried out welding work.

It was wrapped in tarpaulin but earlier this week the covers came off revealing the dramatic bridge design.

Officially known as the Tradeston-Broomielaw Bridge, its distinctive S-shape has led Glaswegians to dub it the Squiggly Bridge.

The Clyde Arc further down river has become known affectionately as the Squinty Bridge.

Delays and arguments over cost have dogged the bridge project since its outset.

The original plans were designed by Richard Rodgers, the man behind the Millennium Dome in London but was scrapped when costs spiralled to more than £60m.

Councillors went back to the drawing board and in 2006 it was announced Edmund Nuttall, the firm which built the Squinty Bridge, had won the contract for the new crossing.

A council spokesman said the cost of the new bridge was roughly £7m.

It is part of a wider project to regenerate the entire Broomielaw and Tradeston site - including reinforcing the quay wall, providing access roads, drainage, and ground works - which is capped at £33million.

The spokesman said some work had still to be done and that the bridge was expected to open by late April or early May.

He added: "While the covers that were in place to protect the public and the surrounding environment during shot blasting are no longer required, the bridge is still very much a construction site at this stage.

"But the project is an essential component of the development programme for the Tradeston area and the wider regeneration of the Clyde, so it is obviously exciting to see it a step nearer to completion."

Mark Barton, marketing manager of Clyde Waterfront, the body which is overseeing the regeneration of Clydeside, thinks the bridge looks "terrific".

He said: "I think it will be a great boost to the area. It looks very nice particularly if you line up on either side of it so you can appreciate the squiggle.

"I do think its shape is appealing and quite impressive if you are looking directly on to it. The hope is that this will make the waterfront area a much more thriving and vibrant place.

"There are plans afoot to have retail and leisure pavilions along the Broomielaw.

"Hopefully in the warmer months and longer days people will come out of their offices in the International Financial Services District and come down to the riverside.

"The long-term vision for Tradeston is that it becomes quite a cosmopolitan quarter again.

"We hope the bridge will act as a real catalyst for stimulating much more footfall and leisure time spent in that area."

The first locals saw of the new bridge - which will carry pedestrians and cyclists - was when supports were built late last year.

Then sections of deck, manufactured by contractor RBG in Invergordon, were carried upriver by barge from the Glasgow Science Centre and lowered into place by crane.

The seven sections - each 17 yards long and weighing 25 tonnes - were then welded together. Pylons and fins were put in place to support the structure.

Tradeston is set to be transformed out of all recognition.

A new housing and retail development is to be built around the historic Beco building - a former warehouse which is now listed by Historic Scotland.

Irish property developers Noel and John Smyth - the men behind the rejuvenation of Dublin's docklands - hope to revive the fortunes of Tradeston in the same way.

The bridge will provide a link from Tradeston to the city centre and apartment blocks, offices, shops, restaurants, bars, a creche and a fitness suite are planned for the south side of the river.

It is expected the entire project on the public realm works on the Broomielaw and at Tradeston will be completed by spring of next year.

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.

  • The Broomielaw Tradeston Bridge