8 major Glasgow projects to be delayed as bridge costs rise

Eight major projects are set to be delayed after the cost of building a new bridge between Govan and Partick soared by £12 million.

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They include work on an Expressway footbridge, estimated at £1.2 million, and an £11 million project to improve pedestrian and cycle routes, and quay walls, around the Scottish Event Campus.

Councillor Jon Molyneux, from Glasgow’s Green group, said it would be a “real shame” if the bridge was constructed “at the expense of other much-needed active travel projects.”

Why has the bridge cost gone up?

A council spokesman said the £29.5 million Govan to Partick pedestrian and cycle bridge had been prioritised as it will “deliver the greatest strategic and economic impact.”

It had originally been estimated to cost £17.5 million.

The cost increase has been attributed to design changes, disruption to construction markets, including a rise in the price of steel, and supply chain issues related to Covid-19, Brexit and the Suez Canal blockage in March.

Alternative funds

Alternative funding options for the eight deferred projects will be explored by council officers, including the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund and from walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

Councillor Molyneux said: “It’s obviously frustrating that external factors mean the bridge costs have risen so dramatically. While that’s a really important project to connect communities by walking and cycling, it’s a real shame it may have to be at the expense of other much-needed active travel projects.

“It’s also concerning that the full picture wasn’t made available before councillors decided on the bridge contract, despite that being asked for. It’s vital now that councillors get a full update on how the council plans to manage other potential increases throughout its capital programme.”

The new bridge will connect Water Row in Govan and Pointhouse Quay in Partick, and construction firm Farrans are set to get the contract.

What other projects are being delayed?

Other projects set to be deferred include improvements to the quay walls at the Briggait/Lancefield Quay, estimated at almost £11 million, and at Yorkhill Quay, expected to cost £1.2million.

A £3.1 million scheme at Govan Graving Docks to ensure Govan “contributes to, and benefits from, the city’s aspiration for a River Park” is on the list as well as work on a Canting Basin bridge, valued at £588,000.

Plans to improve the pedestrian route between Cessnock Subway and Pacific Quay are also expected to be postponed.

Alternative funding from Sustrans could be sourced for the Expressway bridge and the Cessnock pedestrian link while UK Government money could be sought for the Govan Graving Docks, Canting Basin bridge and the SEC active travel plans.

A condition survey at the Briggait/Lancefield Quay found “no urgent works” are required, a council report states, and adds the Yorkhill Quay improvements could be delivered by a developer as a condition of planning consent. There are plans for over 1000 homes.

Work on access improvements at Yorkhill Hospital will be delivered through Sustrans funding.

The projects set to be deferred were chosen through a prioritisation exercise, which looked at development status, the possibility of being delivered with the current programme timescales and their strategic importance. Options to deliver the projects through alternative funding were also taken into account.

What happens next?

Councillors on Glasgow’s contracts and property committee approved the Govan to Partick contract award last week and it is expected to get a final sign-off from the City Region cabinet on December 7.

Members of the council’s city administration committee will be asked to agree to postponing the eight projects on Thursday.

What is Glasgow City Council saying?

The council spokesman said: “The Govan-Partick bridge, like other City Deal funded projects such as the M8 bridge at Sighthill and the Avenues programme in the city centre, will have a substantial impact on opportunities for active travel in Glasgow, and it should be understood that the other projects referred to in this report have not been cancelled but deferred.

“The decision to progress with the bridge was taken as it is a project that will deliver the greatest strategic and economic impact, and in doing so safeguard the delivery of City Deal objectives.

“City Deal funds committed to delivery of the Govan to Partick bridge will be identified as match-funding to lever in additional funding for future projects. The council will continue to expand its active travel network, with just one example being the ongoing Liveable Neighbourhoods consultation in communities across the city.”

The bridge is expected to support public and private sector investments, including £38 million for the University of Glasgow’s Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus, a housing and commercial development at Water Row and leisure and retail uses at Yorkhill and Castlebank Quays.

The £1 billion City Deal has been funded via £500m each from the UK and Scottish Governments.

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