IMPROVEMENTS to the Glen Bridge in Dunfermline are now "unavoidable" with the footway underneath "subsiding significantly" and becoming a hazard to the public.

Combined with continued vandalism and anti-social behaviour, major structural works – at a cost of £300,000 – are now required to stabilise the embankment and reconstruct the footway.

Fife Council's Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment, provided a report and update on the Fife Bridge Strengthening Programme (FBSP) to councillors ahead of the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation sub-committee today (Thursday)

He said: "This scheme has emerged as an unavoidable scheme since the last report to committee.

"The footway under Glen Bridge in Dunfermline, leading from Glen Bridge car park and the Glen, sits perched on the edge of a steep slope and is subsiding significantly.

"This, combined with continued vandalism of temporary fencing installed to protect the edge, mean that this has become a hazard to the public and to Fife Council staff who use this path to access the culvert below for maintenance.

"In addition, issues with anti-social behaviour beneath the bridge mean it is necessary to install fencing to prevent access to six of the seven spans to protect this grade B-listed structure.

"Both of these issues have attracted adverse publicity.

"Initial investigations have revealed very poor ground conditions so major structural works will be required to stabilise the embankment and reconstruct the footway."

He has recommended that the necessary works are now included in Fife Council's Capital Plan at a cost of £300,000.

Design work is under way and it is hoped that it could be completed within the 2020/21 financial year.

However, £1million works needed for the Lyne Burn Bridge at Halbeath Road in Dunfermline will now be held back until 2023/24.

The project was identified in May last year as one of five high-priority structures in the Kingdom that must be strengthened as part of the FBSP for 2019-23.

In his report, Mr Gourlay said that the work faced "complex" design and planning.

He said: "Temporary propping has been installed along the length of the culvert to avoid having to impose a weight restriction on this busy traffic route.

"However, the props are now reaching the end of their serviceable life, hence the replacement/strengthening scheme is necessary to meet modern vehicle loads.

"Much of the cost is associated with the diversion of services during the works. Wherever possible, we shall look to minimise and/or avoid such diversions during the replacement works.

"Although the other project changes above result in a gap within the capital programme for 2020/21, it is not possible to deliver this project within the current financial year. This is due to the complex design and planning required. This will now be commenced in 2023/24.

"In the meantime, frequent inspections of the structure and propping will continue, to monitor the condition."

It is now proposed that £150,000 is spent in the 2022/23 financial year on the bridge with a further £495,000 in 2023/24 and another £500,000 in 2024/25.

Glen Bridge a "place to be ashamed of"

"IT SHOULD be a beauty spot in Dunfermline but for years it's looked terrible, a place to be ashamed of."

That was the opinion of councillor Helen Law in May as she told the Press she was looking for inspiration for the area underneath the Glen Bridge in Dunfermline, an area blighted by anti-social behaviour, vandalism, fly-tipping and safety issues.

A competition was launched to encourage ideas to be contributed.

Anti-social behaviour at Glen Bridge

The Press reported in June 2018 that a group of up to 15 youths were seen running towards the Glen after a fire broke out at the underpath.

Nearby residents described hearing a loud bang as wooden palettes and chairs were set on fire.

Smoke could be seen from the Carnegie Leisure Centre as emergency services tackled the fire.

One fire engine was called out as eyewitnesses said they saw the group of youths running in the direction of Pittencrieff Park.