Scottish Canals

Stockingfield Junction Forth & Clyde Canal Glasgow

Designer; Jacobs
Principal Contractor: Balfour Beatty

Stockingfield Junction Footbridge Glasgow

The completion of the Stockingfield Bridge will reconnect the communities of Ruchill, Gilsochill and Maryhill. The bridge also forms a critical link in the Forth and Clyde Canal opening routes for leisure and employment opportunities in the west end and city centre, bringing significant improvements for    active travel in the area. Funded by the Scottish Government through Sustrans, and the Glasgow City Council’s Vacant Derelict Land Fund, the £13.7   million project takes the form of a curved twin span cable stay structure supported by a tapered inclined mast.

The new crossing allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the canal at towpath level rather than having to exit using an existing potentially dangerous road tunnel. This presented a daily health and safety hazard to all users. Completion of the bridge will remove the need for this diversion. Since          completion of the bridge the underpass has also now been improved with the introduction of pedestrian, cycle and vehicle signage.

The civils construction was undertaken by Balfour Beatty Scotland  with SH Structures supplying and installing the mast, bridge spans, access stairs, ramps and finishes. The complex nature of the project combined with the restricted sloping site demanded close collaboration between the various contractors to ensure the project was installed safely and efficiently.

Client, Scottish Canals were very keen that community engagement played a vital part in the project’s ultimate success. Residents and community groups were consulted from concept to completion giving them a real sense of ownership. High on the residents original wish list were attractive landscaping, a viewing point, and the inclusion of public art, all of which have been provided in the final design. To ensure that the space is safe for female users, the project team worked with a Glasgow violence against women  and girl’s charity, Wise Women. As part of this collaboration, local women visited the site and provided  feedback on lighting, access, and layout.

The existing site included an area of waste land, this is landscaped with the introduction of trees, shrubs, and hedges, 65% of which are native species. This will provide a safe, public space, where anyone can access the community observation platform to enjoy the canal and surrounding area .

Following the initial community engagement fourteen submissions were received for potential artwork to be included on the site with eight being selected to bring further improvements to the once derelict site.  These include ceramic panels and paving stones based upon community produced artworks.

The topography of the site was one of the many challenges faced by the designers. The significant difference in level from the top of the site to the towpath led to a cable stayed design with a 35m high pylon which would be unacceptably unstable in high winds.

To overcome this, the natural terrain was used to create a 5-metre-high platform at the base of the pylon which was tied back into the hillside. This was developed to improve the overall aesthetics of the bridge whilst providing the community with a viewing platform and crucially, mitigating the structural effects of wind.

The reduction of carbon within the construction played an important part in the design and the selection of materials.  Various initiatives were introduced to reduce costs and carbon through design. These included the reuse of causeway material as part of the site’s earthworks and the use of recycled materials in the asphalt.

Modifying the size of the internal steelwork  of the bridge decks has reduced the number of longitudinal stiffeners and transverse diaphragms, used to control buckling, by up to 50%. This led to a great reduction in fabrication welding (cutting, joining, and shaping metal using heat), which helped to cut costs.

The project also reduced its carbon footprint by using more sustainable cement replacements in its concrete mixes. Overall the project recycled 3.75 tonnes of plastic waste.