The Helix project is a major regeneration scheme currently taking place in Scotland.
The £40.5 million scheme is being implemented to transform an area of under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth and will provide new parkland and visitor attractions for the area.
The Helix project is being implemented by Falkirk Council, British Waterways Scotland and Central Scotland Forest Trust – through the Helix Trust – and is being largely funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks programme.
As part of the project work is also being conducted to create a new canal extension stretching from the existing Forth & Clyde canal to a new sea lock on the River Carron. The Helix canal extension will improve navigational access between the River Forth and Scotland’s inland waterways network and is an important part of the overall project.
Mike King, Programme Director for the Helix Project, said:
“The Helix project is a 350 hectare landscape regeneration scheme that brings together approximately 14KM of new pathways and connected greenspaces. The scheme includes woodland improvements, whilst the centrepieces of the project include an innovative parkland, a multi-function leisure and event space and a new canal hub and marina.
“The canal will play host to the Kelpies, two 30 metre high sculptures and from the canal hub there is approximately 900 metres of new canal that connects to the existing Forth & Clyde canal.”
“The Helix project is about connecting two communities. In terms of its industrial output Grangemouth is a very significant town, whilst Falkirk has a thriving retail sector, so we wanted to create a better connection between the two locations. We saw an opportunity to make use of the underused land between the towns to create the connection and this project continues to make great progress.
“We want to turn Falkirk from a day trip destination into an overnight stay, increasing the number of tourists to the area as a result.
“The landscape park will improve access to the town centre and will also create a usable space, showcasing a range of events and recreational facilities, whilst the canal and the Kelpies will become a fantastic tourist attraction.”
Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering are responsible for the works on the canal extension, whilst RG Macleod are the contractors on the new central parkland. Ironside Farrar Limited is the landscape architects, whilst the structural designer is Royal Haskoning. SH Structures are building the Kelpies.
Discussing Balfour Beatty’s involvement, Mike King, commented:
“We were looking for a firm that had the reputation, expertise and experience to deliver this key element of The Helix project and Balfour Beatty fitted these criteria. Their track record reflects their ability to deliver on time and on budget.”
Adam Thomson, Regional Managing Director for Balfour Beatty, commented:
“Balfour Beatty is delighted to be working on The Helix and to be delivering what will be an important scheme for the town and the wider region. It will be a complex project that will breathe life back into the area through a wide range of enhancements brought about by vital regeneration.”
During the works Balfour Beatty will deliver a 65 metre under-bridge, which will feed the canal below the major trunk road, along with a visitor car park, a new access road into and out of the site and a new lock at the Kelpies. In addition, Balfour Beatty will manage all service diversion and drainage works throughout the duration of the project.
“The works being conducted will completely transform business opportunities in this area and as the project progresses we will also see an increase in walkers and cyclists. The canal will provide safe links throughout the area and we will have potential opportunities for sailing and kayaking.
“This project will give people access to the east coast, increasing the number of boaters using the canal but will also provide the opportunity to engage with new, local canal users.”
Work began on The Helix project in early 2010 and is due to reach completion in December 2013. Work on the canal is currently targeted for completion in summer 2013.
For more details on The Helix project or to follow the progress of the scheme, please visit: www.thehelix.co.uk.
Aggregate Industries is a road surface specialist completing projects throughout the UK. The company has over 30 years experience in the trade and in this time has undertaken work on numerous projects including two of the largest projects in Scotland of recent years – the M80 and the M74.
Aggregate Industries also carries out the maintenance contracts on the south west and south east trunk roads. Working on The Helix, Aggregate Industries is working on various elements of road surfacing on the project.
Aggregate Industries Area Director for Scotland, John Mackenzie, said:
“Every project that we are involved with is very important to us. At Aggregate Industries we pride ourselves on the quality, the service and the products that we offer.”