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Bawbee Bridge closure: Year-long works on Leven crossing to start in August

Traffic crossing the busy Bawbee Bridge which joins Leven and Methil in Fife
The Bawbee Bridge will be closed for a year from August.

Leven’s Bawbee Bridge will close for a year from August to allow for £8.15 million of renewal works.

A planning application submitted this week reveals more details about the major project, which will see 18,000 vehicles diverted every day.

If granted, temporary planning permission will run from May 15 2022 until September 30 next year.

And work to create a new bridge to carry traffic across the River Leven will begin in June.

The route of the diversion during the year-long Bawbee Bridge closure.
The route of the diversion during the year-long Bawbee Bridge closure.

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are expected to begin using the temporary bridge from August.

The new route will take travellers over the river between the existing Bawbee Bridge and Levenmouth swimming pool.

And a new road past East Fife’s Bayview Stadium will emerge at South Street, Methil, where a roundabout will be constructed.

The temporary bridge is expected to be removed in August 2023, once the Bawbee Bridge work is complete.

Bawbee Bridge is in a poor state of repair

The Bawbee Bridge is the main route between Leven and Methil and is a key transport link.

However, it is now 75 years old and in a poor state of repair.

It spans the River Leven as well as the route of the new Levenmouth rail link, which is due to open in 2024.

The Bawbee Bridge closure will affect 18,000 vehicles a day.
The Bawbee Bridge closure will affect 18,000 vehicles a day.

And the new Leven railway station will sit beneath it.

Network Rail, which will carry out the repairs, said the bridge is suffering from “significant deterioration”.

The deck is weak and has been subject to a weight restriction for many years.

In addition, the supporting abutments show signs of chlorine contamination and corrosion.

Carrying out the work before the railway is open is said to be more cost effective.

Doing nothing is ‘not an option’

Fife councillors approved funding for the project in January.

And at that time, roads and transportation manager John Mitchell said doing nothing was not an option.

“There is a real, long-standing issue with this bridge,” he said.

“It is in a deteriorating, poor condition.”

Given the timescales involved with the rail link project, the Bawbee Bridge closure and work has become a priority for Fife Council.

However, councillors say they are still committed to other planned bridge improvements and replacements, including the Cowdenbeath railway bridge.

The Leven rail link and associated projects are expected to bring some £100m of investment to the Levenmouth area.

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