Ponfeigh bridge will be closed for months

Ponfeigh Bridge, Douglas Water.
Ponfeigh Bridge, Douglas Water.

Drivers travelling between lower Douglas Water and Sandilands will face a long detour for the foreseable future.

The Ponfeigh bailey Bridge, west of Douglas Water, was closed in April after being damaged, and South Lanarkshire Council then issued an emergency closure order after identifying major defects.

Its website warns that it could remain closed for up to 18 months for major repairs or even to be replaced.

One angry local driver told the Gazette: “A bailey bridge is designed to be built or replaced in a matter of days or, in some cases, even hours and the fact that the council is suggesting that this bridge could be closed for 18 months is disgusting.”

He knew of a bridge being built for a music festival in 10 days, and he added that Liverpool Football Club had demolished and rebuilt its main stand in four months.

He felt that 18 months to replace such a bridge was “incompetence of the highest order”, causing major inconvenience to local people and communities.

Gordon Mackay, head of the council’s road and transportation service, said: “The Ponfeigh bailey bridge was closed to all vehicles after the council received a police report of damage to the bridge.

“Following an inspection, the bridge was deemed unsafe for vehicles and, as a result, an emergency road closure was put in place and remains in operation.

“Due to the extent of the damage, it was always expected that this bridge would be closed for many months.

“The council has commissioned a structural consultant to review and develop options for a repair, and these options are being considered.

“Many technical, environmental and legislative constraints are also having to be considered as any works to the existing bridge will inevitably impact upon the watercourse and environment.”

He added: “Every effort will be made to have the bridge open as soon as possible, but it is likely it will remain closed for the foreseeable future, so users should put in place alternative arrangements to manage their journeys during this time.”