Tuesday 6 April 2010

Hope for restoration of historic West End rail bridge

As reported in tonight's Evening Telegraph, I am hopeful that, with community support, a historic bridge over the railway in the West End could be restored back to its 1903 splendour.

The bridge in question is the one on Riverside Drive, just south of the Botanic Garden.

Over a period of time, many West End residents had contacted m
e about the bridge’s condition – not so much its structural condition, which is sound - but its aesthetic condition. As one resident pointed out:

"The railings are the old, now rusty but once lovely, iron railings adjoining the ironwork of the bridge itself. Travelling down Riverside Drive from Perth Road, these railings are on both sides of the road as you round the curve.

There is an inscription on the bridge, on the steps side of the road, which reads " Esplanade Extension and Relative Works 1903 provided by the Community for the use of Citizens. Charles Barrie Lord Provost William Longair Convener of Works. William Mackison Engineer."

A sign of the times- in 1903 we could build beautiful esplanade extensions. Now we can't afford the paint to maintain them!”

I approached the City Engineer about this matter and, following his undertaking some quotation survey work, he has responded saying :

“We have obtained quotations for the painting of both faces of the bridge parapets, approach railings and stairway railings as well as resetting some stone coping.

Some of this work requires access to the railway line and would therefore need to be carried out overnight during railway possession periods and under Network Rail supervision.

The work would take approx 28 days to complete at a budget cost of £65,000. The Network Rail possession costs/interface costs are approx £20,000 and are included in the £65,000 figure.

As previously discussed, this is more an aesthetic enhancement of the area and does not deal with the maintenance/structural issues of the bridge. However, it would be good to progress this.”

I am raising this with interested residents and the West End Community Council (whose office bearers I have updated) about the possibility of a community-led project to secure external funding to undertake the necessary work to ensure the bridge is restored to its original condition.

The bridge is now over 100 years old and is a key local landmark. Given its historical significance it would be good to see it restored back to its original condition. I am very keen to hear from all local people with an interest in what would be a most worthwhile project for the local area.