Historic bridge replaced after funds are found

The new Dale Bridge over the River Carron in Dunipace
The new Dale Bridge over the River Carron in Dunipace
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A new bridge linking two communities either side of the River Carron is nearing completion.

The latest Dale Bridge is at least the third crossing to be built on the site and replaces an older bridge which was damaged beyond repair during storms in 2010.

There had been fears amongst residents in Denny and Dunipace that the footbridge would never be replaced.

But Falkirk Council contractors have now finished installing the new single-span structure and it will be officially opened on Saturday, September 1.

The £155,000 cost was met by the local authority, Falkirk Environmental Trust, Central Scotland Green Network and from central government funds through LEADER.

The last Dale Bridge was closed to the public in May 2010 after its central support pillar was weakened by flood water.

The century-old crossing was well-used and many residents in Denny and Dunipace expressed dismay at the prospect of losing it forever.

The Falkirk Herald reported in January last year that a public meeting held to discuss the bridge and its future saw some passionate pleas for the old structure to be restored.

Greg Pender, the council’s engineering design manager, explained at the meeting that repairing the bridge would be a risky and costly exercise, adding that the best value option would be to replace it with a new single span bridge.

That plan was subsequently given the green light and funding was secured.

Work on the new crossing began late last year and has now been completed, but it remains closed to the public whilst the approaching footpaths are finished.

Marjorie Delaney, of the Denny & Dunipace Heritage Society, said: “I personally think Falkirk Council have done the best job possible with the new bridge.

“They’ve managed to retain some of the character of the old bridge but also made it more accessible.

“It will be able to be used by those in wheelchairs and buggies, which would not have been possible before.

“The Heritage Society was very keen to retain and repair the old bridge if possible, but we fully understood that the cost of this was prohibitive.

“I think what has been achieved is a credit to the council and to the various local groups that were involved in campaigning for the new bridge, and who then secured funding to ensure it became a reality.”

Communities Along The Carron (CATCA), was one of the groups involved in the project.

It welcomed the new bridge at its AGM held last Monday.