Major repairs will be carried out in East Dunbartonshire to help reopen the Forth and Clyde Canal again to barges and boats.
Scottish Canals is carrying out extensive refurbishment works on the ‘lift bridge’ over the canal at Main Street, Twechar.
Repairs will begin on Monday February 4 - with the bridge expected to be fully open to aquatic traffic again in April.
There is currently no through-route for barges and boats on the Forth and Clyde due to bridge issues at Twechar and Bonnybridge.
Last year Transport Scotland announced £1.625m in capital grant aid to enable Scottish Canals to fix the bridges and reopen the stretch to boats, and to carry out repairs at Ardrishaig Pier in Argyll and Bute.
It followed calls for action from East Dunbartonshire Council and a recent meeting which involved Scottish Canals, Transport Scotland and neighbouring authorities.
Councillor Susan Murray, Vice Convener of Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “I am pleased that work is taking place on the bridge at Twechar - helping to clear the way for people to travel by boat along the Forth and Clyde again.
“It means canal users will be able to travel between Kirkintilloch and The Falkirk Wheel once more, opening up the potential for increased tourism in East Dunbartonshire.
“Unfortunately there will be a level of disruption for local residents while work is carried out on behalf of Scottish Canals. We are working with the contractor to ensure this is minimised as much as possible.”
In order for the works to be carried out in a safe manner, temporary four-way traffic lights will be used to control traffic movements on Main Street, Twechar, at its junctions with Glen Shirva Road and the B8023, from 9.30am on Monday 4 February.
The temporary traffic lights will be manually controlled between 7am and 7pm, each day.
Overnight temporary road closures will be required towards the end of the works. Keep checking the Council’s Twitter and Facebook for details.
Scottish Canals hopes to test the rejuvenated bridges in Twechar and Bonnybridge in March, with the canal fully open again by April.
Peter Robinson, Head of Engineering at Scottish Canals, said: “Thanks to additional funding from the Scottish Government, we’re working hard to bring Twechar bridge back into use and reopen the Forth & Clyde Canal in time for the boating season this spring.
“Scotland’s canals play a vital role in local communities and the nation as a whole, contributing to the marine economy; attracting tourists, visitor spend and investment; providing widespread health benefits; as well as stimulating job creation and business growth.
“While managing these 250-year-old assets is not without its challenges, we are committed to continuing to work with the Scottish Government and partners such as East Dunbartonshire Council to ensure the canals continue to deliver benefits for all the people of Scotland.”
Boat journeys were suspended through the Twechar and Bonnybridge lift bridges in early 2018 due to concerns over the mechanisms of both bridges.