Outcry over Clyde Bridge postponement
That was the sentence, in an email from a council official, which caused uproar when printed on the Gazette’s front page last week.
It related to the Clyde Bridge replacement project and sparked a flood of letters, featured on P14 of this week’s Gazette.
In the days since, we’ve had a reassurance from council leader John Ross that the administration remains committed to the project.
However, residents in Pettinain and Carstairs – cut off at either side of the bridge since it closed in August 2018 – are far from reassured.
Councillor Eric Holford, who contacted the Gazette to break the news last week, has also been inundated by concerned residents.
He said: “John Ross said it always helps to be factual – the details released last week were from a council official and only dealt in facts.
"The fact is I was told it would not be possible to award the contract as insufficient funding was available and the bridge costs had doubled.
"I’ve repeatedly raised concerns about the costings and been assured there was enough in the budget.
"We’re now being told the council remains committed to the project. People just want the bridge to re-open; they’ve waited long enough.”
Fellow local councillor Ian McAllan reiterated John Ross’s pledge, adding: “I will continue to press to ensure the project is undertaken as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Clydesdale MSP Mairi McAllan is talking to colleagues in the Scottish Government; locals fervently hope additional national funding can be found.
Mairi said: “Council leader John Ross has provided an absolute commitment that SLC remains committed to the Clyde Bridge renewal. I will continue to press to ensure this work is undertaken as soon as possible – and I am also liaising with colleagues in the Scottish Government.
“SLC advise there have been a number of factors behind the recent delays to the project and expressed concern about tendering prices being above what had been anticipated. It has been confirmed to us that the council’s current intention is to delay until prices present better value for the taxpayer.
“We have emphasised the importance of the bridge and the time that has passed already waiting for a replacement. I hope future discussions will lead to a workable solution.”
The bridge was expected to be one of the main topics at Pettinain Community Council tonight (Tuesday). It is also likely to be discussed at the council’s executive committee meeting tomorrow.
Barry Knock, chairman of Quothquan and Thankerton Community Council, has also been contacted by residents.
He said: “The community council has written to our ward councillors, South Lanarkshire Council, Mairi McAllan MSP and David Mundell MP with the concerns raised.
"The major increase in journey time and mileage by those having to divert around the closure does nothing to help global warming.
"Questions have also been raised about what plans exist should either Boat Bridge or Hyndford Bridge suddenly become unavailable for use.”