Bellside Bridge woes will be tackled in major project to raise its deck

A bridge in Cleland which is constantly being struck by high-sided vehicles will be raised later this year to try and prevent further collision that spark road and rail chaos in turn.

Bellside Bridge

Bellside Bridge will be the focus of an ambitious link-up between North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail who intend to start replacing the bridge deck in October after conceding that the current width of that structure is far too problematic.

The railway crossing on the M73 has the dubious accolade of being the seventh most struck bridge in the United Kingdom.

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And when accidents happen, both the road and the tracks above must close for inspection meaning that traffic must be diverted through the village in a well-documented headache for drivers.

However, it now looks as if the problem is being tackled head-on.

Nicole Paterson, NLC’s head of environmental assets said: “We have been working with Network Rail for some time to identify how to remove the height restriction at Bellside Bridge.

"So it is excellent news that a solution has been found.”

It then emerged that this involved that the current deck would be replaced with a thinner one which would enable more room to manoeuvre for the most cumbersome HGVS

Crucially this will remove Bellside’s classification as a low bridge and the need for the signed diversion through Cleland for high-sided vehicles.

Network Rail structures asset manager Stewart Lothian said: “This bridge has been struck 56 times in the last decade causing 3000 minutes of delays to trains.

"We are pleased to have been able to work with North Lanarkshire Council to find a long term solution.”

The authority and Network Rail will combine too to meet the cost of the project.

It has emerged that the the A73 will have to be shut down to enable these long-awaited works to take place.

Meanwhile another ambitious project has finally been completed in Cleland after the village school had its old extension removed and a new one was created.

Work had to be put back five months because of Covid-19 restrictions but the £530,00 project is now completely finished.

For more coverage of this story see Page 7.