Highline bridge closure has been double trouble

The Highline bridge in Kilsyth.
The Highline bridge in Kilsyth.

Local residents have welcomed the re-opening of the Highline bridge - after repair work ran months overdue.

Walkers, people exercising their dogs, cyclists and running enthusiasts have been forced to take a detour via the bottom of the Tak Ma Doon Road for almost half a year after the popular bridge was closed for restoration work.

But the link from Neilston Walk to the Colzium opened officially on April 19.

North Lanarkshire Council has blamed the delay on a deck corrosion issue.

Refurbishment of the footbridge was meant to have been started and completed by the end of last year.

As time went on, however, frustrated locals had taken to breaking through the safety barriers erected to prevent people crossing.

Local resident Matt Bendoris, 47, said: “Only North Lanarkshire Council could promise work would take three months and end up taking double that time.

“People became so frustrated they had been breaking through the security fencing at the weekend to cross the bridge.

“That was clearly dangerous as the bridge path hadn’t even been resurfaced at that stage, but it shows that patience was wearing thin.

“The bridge now has new railings, been painted and give a new path.

“But did it really require half a year out of action to complete this?”

Mr Bendoris pointed out that the Highline bridge work had only added to the frustrations of people in Kilsyth.

He said: “We have also had to endure a three way ‘temporary’ traffic lights system that seems to have become a permanent feature in the centre of Kilsyth.

“I just hope North Lanarkshire Council is spending the huge increase in our Council Tax wisely.”

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: “Work to reinstate the failed protective paint system on the steel girder deck of footbridge over the Garrell Burn, between Hill Road and Neilston Walk in Kilsyth, started in September last year.

“Far more extensive corrosion of the deck than originally expected was uncovered during grit blasting operations.

“To ensure the structural integrity of the bridge and safety of bridge users, it was necessary to carry out extensive plate welding repairs.

“In addition, a new waterproofing and drainage system was installed to the deck surface to help prevent corrosion in future. These additional essential works meant that the bridge did not reopen until April 19.

“Security fencing and bridge closed signs were in place during the works and a signed pedestrian diversion route was supplied and maintained for the duration of the works.”