Dumfries

The Loreburn bridge in Dumfries was opened in September 2001 and carries the National Cycle Network route 7 over the river Nith. The web is surprisingly coy about this bridge - it has not proved possible to identify any links with further information.

 

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Although by no means millennial, there are four other footbridges of interest in Dumfries. Anyone travelling the A75 (Dumfries By-pass) cannot fail to notice the very striking cable-stay bridge (the Glasgow Road bridge) spanning the roundabout at the intersection with the A701. This bridge was opened in 1990 and carries cycle and foot traffic from the suburb of Locharbriggs into the town centre. Unfortunately, immediately after crossing the bridge, cyclists are presented with a very narrow section of footway and a "cyclists dismount" sign which negates much of the value of the bridge. It seems more than a pity that in the 15 years which have elapsed since opening the Glasgow Road bridge, this problem was not addressed, however I believe that this has recently been sorted. 

 

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The other bridge of note is the old Victorian suspension footbridge across the River Nith to the south of the town centre. This was thoughtfully reconstructed in 1985 to the original design, which is of course much too narrow to carry cyclists!

 

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Further downstream (indeed the lowest crossing point of the River Nith) is the recently opened KM Bridge,  named after local hero Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1813-1878) from Keir Mill in Nithsdale, the inventor in 1839 of the pedal-driven "Velocipede"  - the direct precursor of the modern bicycle. The bridge links Troqueer on the right bank with Castledykes Park and was opened on 28th February 2006 by Tavish Scott MSP, the Minister of Transport. Comprising a single span of 67.5m (221 feet), the steel deck of the bridge, weighing 70 tons, is suspended from two circular steel arches by high-tensile bars. The parapets are of stainless steel.The bridge was a joint initiative between Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Scottish Executive, Sustrans and the European Union. It has proved controversial because it effectively restricted vessels on the Nith reaching Dumfries. There is a nice selection of images available here illustrating the construction of the bridge.

 

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Meanwhile to the north of the town, the stub of the former railway line running from Dumfries to Stranraer has recently been converted into a broad, high quality cycle path (the "Maxwelltown" railway path). The 170 metre long viaduct across the River Nith has been restored and named the "Queen of the South" Viaduct. The viaduct was opened in July 2008 and was the first of many schemes under the lottery-funded Connect2 Project to be completed.

 

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