International interest in building first opening bridge over the River Clyde

CGI of how the new River Clyde bridge will look when completed.

Three international engineering teams are in the running to build the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde in Scotland. The crossing, connecting Renfrew to Clydebank and Yoker, forms the centrepiece of a major infrastructure project to transform the Clyde waterfront.

Jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments through the Glasgow City Region City Deal, the £90.7m Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project includes an 184 metre-long, twin-leaf cable-stayed swing bridge accommodating vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and opening horizontally for passing ships.

Following an initial selection stage earlier this year, Renfrewshire Council has now invited three bidders to participate in the detailed tendering stage of the procurement process.

  • ARC: a joint venture of Roadbridge and American Bridge supported by COWI as design partner, whose previous projects include the construction of the iconic Queensferry Crossing and the Tappan Zee Bridge over New York's Hudson River;
  • A Balfour Beatty team, comprising Cleveland Bridge, Qualter Hall and consultants Atkins. They have delivered the Media City Swing Bridge in Salford and are currently replacing the Surf City Swing Bridge in North Carolina;
  • Construction and civil engineering company GRAHAM, working with Hollandia and Ramboll. GRAHAM and Hollandia were both involved in the construction of the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, whilst Ramboll led the Design Joint Venture of the Queensferry Crossing;

Sweco worked with architects Kettle Collective to draw up initial designs for the bridge, which draw on the area's rich shipbuilding heritage. Also included in the project is more than 2km of new and improved roads and shared cycle and pedestrian routes, including connections into the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland being developed next to Glasgow Airport.

Each team has received the full tendering pack which comprises more than 750 documents and 300 drawings. It is anticipated the successful team will be appointed in early 2020 and construction is scheduled to start later that year and be completed in 2022.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: "This project will transform the Clyde waterfront and connect communities on both sides of the river, improving access to jobs, education, hospitals and leisure pursuits. I am very pleased to see this project progressing well and it is no surprise that it has attracted such high calibre teams bidding to secure the design and construction contract.

"More than 470 people will be involved in the initial construction and a further 2,300 jobs are expected to follow over the next decade through the new developments and business growth it attracts. Independent analysis ranks it one of the top-performing economic growth projects in the west of Scotland and we're excited by its economic potential and by the benefits it brings for residents on both sides of the river."

Scottish infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson said: “It's particularly pleasing that this project will open up access to new opportunities around the River Clyde and help further spread the benefits of our investment made in other key infrastructure locally, such as the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the upcoming National Manufacturing Institute Scotland."

UK government Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: "It's great to see the progress being made on the first and largest growth deal in Scotland, and this particular crossing will make a huge difference to the Clyde waterfront.”

Local businesses are being encouraged to ensure they are registered on Public Contracts Scotland where sub-contractor opportunities will be published. 

If you would like to contact Rob O’Connor about this, or any other story, please email