Bring­ing NYC to Bowl­ing bridge

City park in­spi­ra­tion for facelift

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lor­raine Weir

Bowl­ing could be in line for its very own taste of New York fol­low­ing the restora­tion of a 120-year-old swing bridge.

Work on the bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal is the lat­est stage of a £3.2mil­lion trans­for­ma­tion of the area and could pave the way for a new lin­ear park in­spired by New York City’s High Line.

The High Line in the Big Ap­ple is an el­e­vated lin­ear park, green­way and rail trail which opened in 2009 and has since be­come an icon in con­tem­po­rary land­scape ar­chi­tec­ture .

Fundrais­ing is now un­der­way at Bowl­ing for the next stage of the de­vel­op­ment of the struc­ture transforming the for­mer rail­way line us­ing the New York site as a model.

De­sign and de­vel­op­ment man­ager at Scot­tish Canals, He­lena Huws said: “Over the past few years, we’ve been work­ing with our part­ners and the lo­cal com­mu­nity to breathe new life into Bowl­ing Har­bour, in­vest­ing more than £3.2m in the area.

“The restora­tion of the area’s iconic rail­way bridge to its for­mer glory is the next step in that story and we’re de­lighted to see the project com­pleted.

“Now we’re look­ing to de­liver the next stages of the master­plan we’ve helped shape with the lo­cal com­mu­nity – bring­ing fur­ther in­vest­ment, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and vi­brancy to Bowl­ing, and de­vel­op­ing a fan­tas­tic tourism and leisure des­ti­na­tion fit­ting of the west­ern gate­way to the Forth and Clyde Canal.”

Bowl­ing Har­bour’s viaduct swing bridge was con­structed in 1896 to carry the Cale­do­nian and Dun­bar­ton­shire Rail­way over the Forth and Clyde Canal.

After the rail­way was aban­doned in 1960, the bridge fell into dis­re­pair. Thanks to fund­ing sup­port from Sus­trans and His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land, Scot­tish Canals has un­der­taken vi­tal re­pairs to the struc­ture’s badly cor­roded met­al­work and re­painted the en­tire span.

The project is now com­plete and, to­gether with the re­cent re­fur­bish­ment of the bridge’s rail­way arches into com­mer­cial units, has en­sured that the struc­ture will con­tinue to play an im­por­tant role in the area for years to come.

West Dun­bar­ton­shire Coun­cil’s re­gen­er­a­tion con­vener, Coun­cil­lor Iain McLaren added: “The Bowl­ing swing bridge is of real his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance and it is won­der­ful to see it re­stored to its for­mer glory as part of this am­bi­tious project.

“The work al­ready car­ried out at Bowl­ing Har­bour has made it a des­ti­na­tion well worth vis­it­ing and the plans for fur­ther re­gen­er­a­tion of the area are ex­tremely ex­cit­ing.”

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