MP for West Dunbartonshire Martin Docherty-Hughes joined MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North Gavin Newlands to officially open a new almost 2km long gas pipeline under the River Clyde at the Erskine Bridge.
The new pipeline replaces two 1.5km pipelines previously suspended under the Erskine Bridge. Maintaining the existing pipelines had become both costly and time consuming for both SGN and the Scottish Government therefore the decision was taken to remove the pipes from the Bridge and design a replacement pipeline.
A major planning and design exercise got underway to address the many challenges of the project including:
- The 2,000-year-old Roman Antonine Wall (a World Heritage Site);
- The A82 dual carriageway into Glasgow;
- A dual-track electrified railway crossing at Kilpatrick Station;
- The Forth and Clyde Canal at Lock 37 above a culvert for Dulnottar Burn;
- A disused railway;
- A nature reserve (The Saltings);
- A community woodland (Boden Boo);
- A luxury golf hotel (Mar Hall);
- St Patrick’s RC Church, which holds daily mass services;
- The Old Secession Church, now converted to a listed building of residential properties;
- And of course, the Erskine Bridge itself.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The Erskine Bridge is an iconic landmark, connecting the communities of West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire across the Clyde for almost 50 years.
“It’s an honour to officially open this new pipeline along with my colleague Gavin Newlands MP, which will ensure a safe and reliable supply of natural gas to thousands of local homes and businesses.
“An infrastructure project of this complexity takes considerable skill and expertise, and I commend all of the engineers and workers involved for its successful completion.”
Gavin Newlands MP added:
“As the son of a former gas board fitter I was very proud to open the new gas pipeline beneath the River Clyde with my good friend and neighbouring MP for West Dunbartonshire Martin Docherty-Hughes. The project has been a real feat of engineering and I was deeply impressed at the skill involved by all concerned in the delivery of the project.
“The Erskine Bridge is approaching its 50th birthday and is not only a hugely important transport link on the west coast but a hugely recognisable landmark in its own right, however not many people knew their gas supply was delivered by the pipes under the bridge also. Replacing these half-century old pipes will ensure a reliable supply of gas for residents on both sides of the Clyde for decades to come.”
Project Manager David Rae said:
“We’re delighted to commission this new pipeline following the many challenges we’ve overcome during this hugely complex project. In total, over 260 sections of 450mm diameter steel pipes, manufactured in the UK and each weighing 2.2 tonnes, have been commissioned. By using the latest in technology, our expert engineers successfully drilled under the entirety of the River Clyde in challenging ground conditions.
“Our micro-tunnelling operation under Old Kilpatrick Railway Station was also quite a feat of engineering. We needed to approach this in one continuous section, tunnelling for 24-hours a day!”