Funds secured for replacement of failing bridge

Eyemouth is to benefit from a £225,000 project which will see the replacement of a vital piece of the town's infrastructure.

Thursday, 22nd February 2018, 07:31 am
Eyemouth's Red Bridge.

Following the December announcement that SSE and Clyde Wind Farm Ltd had awarded £84,088 towards the replacement of the footbridge that spans ‘the cut’, leading to the boatyard, Eyemouth Harbour Trust has secured match-funding from Scottish Borders LEADER Local Action Group with a grant of £129,541 towards the project.

The balance is being met jointly by Eyemouth Harbour Trust and Eyemouth Marine Ltd, the new owners of the boatyard.

The pedestrian route is currently served by a narrow movable bridge, commonly known as the Red Bridge.

Despite being maintained 30 years beyond its original expected life, it is at risk, jeopardising vital access for people and businesses.

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It will be replaced with a new, modern, wider, fit-for-purpose bridge which lifts to allow access for vessels up the Eye Water to the boatyard slip.

Patrick Flockhart, of Eyemouth Marine Ltd, said: “We are currently in the process of redeveloping and improving the boatyard in order to take it into the 21st century and hopefully guaranteeing high-quality jobs there for the future. This is a process which is likely to take a few years. The fixing of the Red Bridge makes us more secure in deciding on making these investment decisions.”

Christine Bell, business manager at Eyemouth Harbour Trust, said: “We are so pleased to be in a position to take the project forward now that funding is in place.

“The community has shown a lot of support for replacing the bridge and we’re keen get things under way.

“We’re already speaking to Consulting Engineers about the pre-tender stage, with a view to putting it out to tender for a design and build contract in April and appointing a contractor in June.

“Design, fabrication and construction is planned to start in late summer with completion in early 2019.”

The new bridge, with a 120-year design life, is a capital project which will serve the Eyemouth community, visitors and businesses, securing this important access route for the town for many years to come.

Simon Lynch, LEADER Programme Facilitator commented “The Red Bridge is vital to Eyemouth linking the two sides of the town and harbour together. LEADER is delighted to help fund a new improved bridge which will allow full disabled access as well as use by forklifts for the first time. These improvements will help sustain Eyemouth’s fishing and boat building industry as well as making the Eyemouth sea front more accessible and attractive to tourists.”

As well as providing an essential link for the local community, businesses and the RNLI, the bridge forms part of several important green travel routes, key to attracting visitors to the area, including the Berwickshire Coastal Path and Smugglers Trail.

Lindsay Dougan, Community Investment Manager added: “SSE and Clyde Wind Farm Ltd are delighted to support this fantastic project. The new bridge will provide significant benefits for Eyemouth residents and will help increase tourism to the area. The new infrastructure will be vital to support the economic growth of harbour industries.”