A Glasgow community has been reconnected to Glasgow Green for the first time in over three years following the official opening of the new £1.5m Polmadie Footbridge.
Residents of the Oatlands area were joined by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, and Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, to take the first steps across the newly restored River Clyde crossing.
The reopening of the of the bridge re-establishes a critical link in the city's walking and cycling network and will support Glasgow City Council's on-going efforts to revitalise Glasgow Green, the city's oldest park.
Direct access to the Green from Oatlands was lost in May 2015 when a routine inspection revealed that continued use of the previous bridge could lead to its collapse. The 60-year-old bridge was immediately closed and by June 2016 the bridge deck was demolished, with the supporting piers left in place.
Locals campaigned for the pedestrian and cycle bridge to be brought back into use and that led to the decision by Glasgow City Council to provide funding for the restoration. The project was given a further support by Sustrans when they agreed to provide significant financial support.
The construction project between Glasgow City Council, Sustrans and the Scottish Government, which began on the ground in earnest in January 2018 with George Leslie Limited the principle contractor for the works.
The 103metre long bridge has been built upon the original piers with the approach ramp designed and appropriately lit to ensure it is accessible for disabled people. The bridge itself also has in-built lighting to illuminate the deck to create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Councillor Anna Richardson said: "There was a great deal of local feeling about the loss of the bridge and so I am delighted to see Oatlands reconnected with Glasgow Green. The council team leading the project deserves credit for having the foresight to save the supporting piers, which has been a huge help in making restoration of the bridge financially possible.
"But the design of the bridge is also very responsive to the needs of the community and will hopefully encourage as many people as possible to use the bridge on a regular basis. Glasgow Green is one of our most prestigious parks and making it as accessible as possible has a great value in itself.
"The Green is also a key part of the national cycle network and so the new bridge represents yet another boost to the city's growing infrastructure for active travel."
Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson said: "The partnership approach between Glasgow City Council, Sustrans Scotland and the Scottish Government has resulted in the restoration of the Polmadie Footbridge, which has restored a vital active travel route in the heart of Glasgow Green.
"I am proud that this government has doubled the active travel budget to £80m for 2018/2019, so that we can continue to support more projects like this right across country. We are committed to delivering active travel infrastructure to support our ambition to develop an Active Nation, ensuring that more people can enjoy the benefits of walking and cycling than ever before."
Sustrans Scotland National Director, John Lauder, said: "Sustrans Scotland is delighted to have supported the Polmadie Footbridge through the Transport Scotland funded Community Links fund. The footbridge is an excellent example of how Community Links funding can connect communities for walking and cycling.
"We encourage communities and local authorities all over Scotland to get in touch to find out more about the wide range of funding opportunities for active travel in their area."
Polmadie Footbridge will act as a link to Route 75 of the National Cycle Network from south Glasgow and from NCN 756, which runs from East Kilbride and through Rutherglen.