A VITAL road link connecting Kirkliston with the city centre is to be replaced after local residents raised fears of being ‘cut adrift’ from the rest of the capital.
Burnshot Bridge was closed by road safety bosses in November 2016 following serious concerns over its structural integrity, before being fully demolished a year later.
Deterioration of joints on the bridge meant it was no longer fit for purpose and had to be torn down, but in a letter delivered to planning chiefs last month, local representatives said they were concerned over “considerable disruption” caused to commuters as well as the potentially negative impact on local businesses.
The popular Craigie’s Farm shop was cited as one of those at risk of losing out as a result of the closure.
A replacement structure had previously been classified as an “unfunded project” in budget papers before the council finance committee, despite initial designs being drawn up.
But the council’s head of finance Hugh Dunn has now confirmed officials had identified the necessary money to build the bridge from the roads budget, with the proposals set to be finalised at the end of the month.
Councillor Kevin Lang hailed the funding as a victory for local residents.
He added: “This is fantastic news, especially for people in Kirkliston who have faced 15 months’ disruption following the closure of the old bridge.
“There was real uncertainty after official council papers left the new Burnshot Bridge off a list of recommended projects. “This confirmation of funding from the head of finance will come as a huge relief to many in the rural west of the city.”
“With funding identified, it is now important to get the bridge design complete and construction started as soon as possible.”
It is estimated any work to replace the structure would cost upwards of £3 million, but any formal costing is unlikely to be put forward before the council budget is agreed on February 22.
Craigie’s Farm owner John Sinclair said: “It has been something of a rollercoaster ride since we learned a replacement for the bridge may not be funded, but we are obviously delighted to hear that the project will be going ahead.”
“From a business standpoint, we had noticed a dip in the amount of people coming through the door since the bridge went. Around 20 per cent of our customers come from Fife, so for them not to have to go through that massive detour is good news.
“But also for our staff as well, we have one employee who only lives a mile away, but his walk to work turned into a three-mile trip because the bridge was out of action.”
Cllr Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said “disruption would be kept to a minimum” during the development, adding: “Burnshot Bridge was and will be again a much-used route for vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists.”
“All being well, we would anticipate work starting on the new bridge in the autumn.”