Futuristic aerial crossing will be an iconic gateway to Falkirk

It may have looked like a bridge too far when it was first announced a few years ago but after securing £20 million of UK Government funding the futuristic Westfield Crossing is now fast becoming an exciting reality.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 5:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 8:01 am

The designs for the crossing may look like something from science fiction, but the project now looks ready to become a fact and join other local icons The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies as yet another reason to visit the Falkirk area.

And, like The Falkirk Wheel, it will serve a practical purpose too – enabling pedestrians to cross safely above traffic so they can visit Falkirk Stadium, the Helix Park – home of the aforementioned Kelpies – the new Falkirk College campus and the Falkirk Gateway site when it is created.

It all began back in 2019 when planners decided to come up with something that would make life safer – and easier – for visitors who wanted to access the town’s attractions on foot or by bicycle without having to cross the busy A904 Falkirk road.

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An artist's impression of the Westfield Crossing

At the time there were already plans in place for the Falkirk Gateway and the new Forth Valley College campus and these landmarks, when coupled with the stadium and the Helix would only see an increase in people crossing this busy road.

The basic aim at that very early stage was to provide a safe link to Falkirk town centre, the motorway and Grangemouth, whether driving, walking or cycling.

Douglas Duff, acting director of Falkirk Council development services, said: “We are keen to proceed with the scheme as quickly as we can. The project has been quite long in its planning – it’s been quite an extensive process to assess of the scale of the works needed, the scale of the traffic and the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.”

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Mr Duff said the aerial crossing grew out of a requirement to improve the A904 road.

The design of the crossing/walkway has changed quite a bit since those early plans drawn up in 2019 and the original concept – which some say resembled a “witches hat” – was based on Holland’s Hovenring suspended cycle path.

This quickly morphed into the futuristic – almost flying drone-like – four circle design which has everyone so excited, including Mr Duff.

Mr Duff said: "This is the gateway to the towns of Falkirk going one way and Grangemouth going the other, so we were looking for something that would be quite significant, something that would highlight the importance of entering the towns.

"I think the design really exemplifies the transformation the area has gone through.”

And now the project has secured £20 million from the UK Government’s appropriately named Levelling Up Fund, Mr Duff is feeling confident the crossing will be in place by 2024.

People are already imagining standing on the walkway over the A904 and viewing the Kelpies – and other landmarks – from another perspective.

Last week Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn welcomed the £20 million cash boost.

She said: "The roads will be widened to accommodate increasing traffic and each of the four ‘rings’ of the iconic bridge will provide an elevated platform to view the local area and a safe way of getting around without disrupting traffic.”

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