Right of Way under threat- Gartness to Monklands Bridge

The footbridge at Monklands Bridge, between Gartness and the Carlisle Road is under threat of being lost. Blackhouse Bridge, a footbridge which has been in existence for over 100 years is now is a terrible state. It is highly likely that this bridge will be demolished, to save the cost of repairs, and it is again likely that the bridge will not be replaced. With the loss of this bridge a safe traffic free route between Gartness and Airdrie/Chapelhall will be lost forever. Walkers and anglers also use this bridge, which gives access to the glen area, if you know of anyone who uses the area let them know it is under threat.

I’d also recommend contacting the councillors for the Airdrie South area, Michael Coyle, Tom Curley, David Fagan and John Love. Their details can be found HERE.

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13 Responses to Right of Way under threat- Gartness to Monklands Bridge

  1. varyt says:

    This is another example of the disregard for our history and what it offers to our children growing up. We regularly visit this area and love the uniquness of the old bridges the history it serves up and the kids love playing here. If money and safety is paramount then lets close of the bridge to the public until we have the funds to invest in the area.

    Look what was accomplished St Aloysius Primary Chapelhall. Over 100 years of history flattened and replaced by rubble for the past few years. At the very least keep the facade and build round it.

    Is there anything more we can do…. I have written a few emails to the councillors mentioned in the blog post today.

    • jester1970 says:

      Thanks for that, the latest word I have seen is that there is no plan for a replacement bridge. I’ve been walking that route for over thirty years and I’d be gutted to see it go.

  2. Robert Murray says:

    I believe the bridge is part of the North Calder Heritage Trail. Do NLC still employ an NCHT officer? I remember doing a walk along there a few years ago led by such a person.
    I can’t see an alternative route along the trail if the bridge were demolished. Isn’t it ‘listed’ anyway?

  3. varyt says:

    David Fagan has responded to my email with support for the cause and strongly opposes the demolition of the bridge. David has sent an email to Shirley Linton – lintons@northlan.gov.uk and we are awaiting a response.

  4. varyt says:

    Is there a timeframe we have on this before its demolished? As an update I see a metal fence has been placed in front of the entrance which wasnt there last week.

    • jester1970 says:

      I contacted North Lanarkshire Council. The heritage trail runs on the north side of the burn, so this isn’t part of it. The post of NCHT Officer is no more I’m afraid.
      I’ve had replies from some of the councillors and I’m waiting on a reply from the departtment tasked with looking after the bridge. As soon as I have a reply I will post it here.

  5. jester1970 says:

    I have contacted various council officials to find out if there is a timeframe on this. As soon as I have a reply I will post an update. In the meantime I think that a few letters to the Advertiser would come in useful, as this would reach people who are not online and aren’t aware of this situation.

  6. Varyt says:

    I have sent an email to the advertiser with the news story. I have also had emails back from Shirley Linton in the planning dept basically saying they have no option. They have fenced the bridge off but advise there is still a danger from below. I have replied back asking if there would be an objection from closing of access from below to avoid an accident and thus preserve this wonderful bridge until we have alternative options open in the future. Preservation must be our past must be the first option. I am sure we could apply for grants moving forward.

    Here is the official line below:

    ————————————————————————————–

    The council’s bridge engineers inspected the bridge in February of this year and the decision was made to close the bridge in the interests of public safety.

    In consultation with the council’s Access Liaison Officer and other parties this emergency action was agreed and arrangements made for erection of fencing and signing to prevent access to the bridge.

    The masonry arch bridge, reckoned to be over 100 years old, spans a gorge within Monklands Glen. The bridge is only accessible by foot along the Public Right of Way (SM11) from Caldervale Street, Gartness to the A73 at which location users require to cross the busy road to the footway on the opposite side.

    The bridge is showing obvious signs of movement and distress with erosion of the sides of the gorge at the abutments likely to be a contributory factor to the overall deteriorating condition of the bridge. This distress is evident in the arch barrel which has longitudinal cracks, masonry spalling and dislodgement of a keystone and is also evident in the spandrel walls and abutments which have vertical cracks and bulging with evidence of scouring and loss of masonry at the foundations.

    Given its present condition the potential for partial or catastrophic collapse of the bridge cannot be ignored. Although closing the footpath has eliminated the risk to users crossing the bridge anyone venturing below the bridge, albeit with some difficulty, is exposed to the danger posed by its deteriorating condition. Such danger is unpredictable and for this reason it is necessary for the removal of the bridge to proceed as soon as possible.

    Despite past repairs and measures to keep the bridge open the structure has progressively succumbed to the effects of time and weather and has reached the end of its useful life. Given the extent and severity of the defects and the inaccessibility of the bridge for plant and materials the structure is considered beyond economic repair.

    The inaccessibility and topography of the area would significantly increase the costs of replacing the bridge at the present site or in providing a footbridge elsewhere on a realigned footpath route through the gorge. With the many uncertainties involved the costs would be considerable and could conceivably exceed £300,000. At present the council has no plans to replace the bridge.

    The decision to close and subsequently demolish the bridge has not been taken lightly particularly as there is no convenient alternative diversion route in the vicinity. Although numbers are unlikely to be high, the loss of amenity and inconvenience to users of the bridge is acknowledged and regrettable, however closing the bridge was the only option to address the high and unacceptable risk to public safety.

    The council will initiate the appropriate procedures to permanently close the footpath in compliance with relevant legislation.

    ————————————————————————————–

  7. geezapath ya numpty says:

    I understand the feelings of those above but once again this is down to vandalism more than lack of maintenance and as such would always be a target, rather than spend money repairing a bridge to nowhere ( a dangerous blind double bend on a national speed limit road ) would it not be safer to cut a new path from the exsisting footpath (SM11) on the Gartness side of the bridge with a small wooden bridge to cross over to the Chapelhall side and then onwards and upwards to Chapelhall Industrial Estate, This would link up with paths behind the old Forestry Commission Workshops in Chapelhall which already link up with the various paths around Calderbank. This could even be a junction point with a bridge over to the north side to link with the paths on that side. As a resident of Gartness I am well aware of the lack of footpaths in/out of the village but this was never viewed as a safe route and as North Lanarkshire have refused to build a path next to road to Chapelhall or Moffat Mills ( as there have been no fatalities yet ) It would be great to be able to walk on a good path to get to a shop or two never mind for enjoyment. If the authorities in question don’t want to repair the bridge ask them for an alternative which can be used safely by ramblers as well as villagers.

  8. jester1970 says:

    I lived in Gartness some time ago and on good days this path was vastly more enjoyable than dodging traffic on the road to Chapelhall. There was a meeting sheduled for late December 2011 which I was due to attend, but a change of shifts at the last minute meant I couldn’t do so. As yet I have received no update on the meeting, although pre-meeting it was being said that the cost of repairing the bridge was prohibitive. I made the suggestion of a bridge at a lower level crossing the North Calder Water and a footpath which would join the NCHT, and would allow access at the ‘Petersburn’ gate, partway up Carlisle Road. As soon as I hear something I will post it on here.
    It does seem wrong that areas such as Gartness have to resort to putting out the begging bowl, while funds are always available for the likes of Centenary Park. Indeed the complete waste of money by NLC on the Neon Waves farce in Cumbernauld would have replaced the bridge twice over:
    http://www.cumbernauld-news.co.uk/news/local-headlines/overspend_on_cumbernauld_lights_scheme_criticised_1_1930343

  9. geezapath ya numpty says:

    I have it on good authority that a new path linking Gartness and the footpath to Moffatmills is to be made in the near future, this will allow safe passage out of the village and will be well used, but while it will not help villagers with a safe walkway to our closest neighbour Chapelhall – which has all the services we require – once people are aware of it I am sure the residents of Gartness will enjoy getting out for a wee walk on summer nights without dodging transit vans and cars who treat this road as a race track, I have witnessed kids walking to Caldervale High School, dog walkers having to jump up on high verges and wonder how long before someone dies on that hill. Residents of Garness have been promised a footpath for years, As far back as Helen Liddel when she was the Labour MP for the area said she would get it sorted but never bothered, If a direct link along side the road is not possible why don’t the council combine the Blackhouse bridge problem with the footpath problem and come up with a route which solves both issues or is that too hard ! without going all political on this forum I just hope the move away from the old Lanarkshire left to the free party of Scotland will bring about a change in the law and law makers who are given to granting us the right to roam in a safe and pleasant manner, In this day and age is it too much to ask for a well constructed footpath which gives access and pleasure to some of the nicest parts of the local area. And there was me thinking it was our money that funded North Lanarkshire Council – do they not work for us ?

  10. Jim Cassidy says:

    Yesterday I received notification from North Lanarkshire Council that the condition of the bridge has deteriorated significantly, and it is now scheduled for demolition. They hope to salvage some of the stone from the bridge to use in a new crossing, should they decide to install one.
    I have contacted NLC and MSP Alex Neil about this, and would hope that they can ensure a new bridge is installed. There are council elections in May, if you do happen to meet any candidates you may want to bring this up. The path could easily be diverted to join up with the North Calder Heritage Trail, at the entrance further up on the A73, towards Brownsburn, keeping a direct pedestrian link from Gartness to Airdrie.

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