Bridging the gap by 2013

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THE road to Clarkston train station may be less long and winding in 2013, according to East Renfrewshire council.

Residents have long complained about the closure of the footbridge running from Clarkston Toll to the station, first shut off in February this year – but following a site visit, ERC has pledged to fix the problem “early in the new year”.

Renovation work at the site was originally due to be completed within five weeks, but a dispute between the council and Network Rail left the walkway closed throughout the year – and residents questioning the safety of alternative routes.

In July, an ERC spokesman told The Extra that the project was delayed “as we are waiting for technical approvals to allow closure of the Glasgow to East Kilbride railway line”.

Resident Carolyn Dewar complained to The Extra that the alternative roadside path was “treacherous”, while a representative of online community group Clarkston.com called it “a concern in terms of safety”.

The plight of the footbridge was even the subject of a poem by Clarkston businessman Kit Duddy, who penned the line: “The council and the railway folk will sort out the bridge that’s clear, the problem is they are not quite sure which MONTH, indeed which YEAR”.

And The Extra recently featured a letter to Santa, in which the resident behind Clarkston.com wrote: “Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas this year is: A FOOTBRIDGE.

“We know that this might be too big to fit on your sleigh, so if you can’t manage to deliver a whole bridge, maybe you could sprinkle some magic dust over the unfinished bridge we have as you fly past it on Christmas Eve”.

Now, it’s possible that the Christmas wish of numerous Clarkston residents may yet come true.

This week, a spokesman for East Renfrewshire council told The Extra: “We are delighted to be able to tell you that the job is now progressing.

“Workmen were on site on December 18, confirming the location of a Scottish Power cable, and it is anticipated that work will start in earnest early in the new year”.

Clarkston.com responded: “I’m very happy to hear it, although I’m astonished that it’s taken so long when the bridge didn’t need fixed in the first place.

“It would be nice to hear something more concrete about when work will take place, and I hope it happens soon, as the bridge has been out of order for almost a year now”.