Five additional projects are being considered to expand the existing network of paths and bridges in Hawick to allow for improved connectivity and accessibility across the town.
The options under consideration have been made possible thanks to £3.5million in additional funds from Sustrans in December 2020, to further enhance the walking and cycling networks within the Hawick Active Travel Network, which is being delivered as part of the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme.
One of the key options under consideration includes putting in a brand-new 4m wide footbridge connecting the Weensland and Burnfoot areas of the town.
This new river crossing would be situated at the roundabout junction at Mansfield Road and Hamilton Road stretching over the River Teviot to Weensland.
The historic North Bridge crossing would be placed at the heart of this new Active Travel Network, providing the connecting point for the pathway travelling east/west along the river through Laidlaw Terrace and along Duke Street. The pathway would also travel north through Dovemount Place and south to the High Street along North Bridge Street.
Another option would see the creation of a new footpath linking the High Street with Commercial Road via The Wee Haugh and Oliver Crescent. This new option would see work progressed in partnership with the Council’s business incubator centre project to fully connect it to the network.
Half a million pounds worth of improvements across the Burnfoot area have also been earmarked as part of the proposals. The project team will be establishing contact with members of the Burnfoot community, including existing community organisations, to identify the options that would best benefit the area before assisting the community to lead on the delivery of these improvements. Consultation on this is expected to start before the end of the year.
The proposals also outline an option to expand the new Active Travel Network beyond Volunteer Park and the McLaren Footbridge by extending the path network around the existing 3G pitch to the A7 and the existing Crumhaugh pathway.
Within this option a new toucan crossing is proposed at this location along with a widening of the entrance to the Crumhaugh pathway.
Consideration is also being given to widening the existing roadside footpath along to the Langlands Footbridge, providing increased accessibility to the town and delivering road safety enhancements at the location.
Other works could include upgrades to the existing pathway that stretches from Glebe Mill Street to Weensland alongside the river by widening the path to 4m, incorporating new urban landscaping, and enhancing the entrance to Oliver Park.
It is planned to hold a public consultation event over two days in late November to discuss these proposals in more detail with the community and businesses in the town.
The project team will facilitate this consultation through the 10th meeting of its Community Vision Working Group.
The outlined options are scheduled to be completed within the delivery time of the overall Hawick Flood Protection Scheme.
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Infrastructure, Travel and Transport, said: “Collectively, all the additional options outlined as part of the extension of the Active Travel Network within Hawick have the potential to transform the townscape and significantly improve the network of roads and paths within the town. The possibility of a footbridge connecting the Burnfoot and Weensland areas was discussed on multiple occasions throughout the design stages of the flood protection scheme and I’m extremely pleased this option along with the other key projects outlined in this report have been progressed. I know these options will be welcomed by the local community and have the potential to positively improve the infrastructure within Hawick. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant upsurge in the amount of active travel across our towns and villages, and we as a Council want to encourage this trend as much as possible to promote healthier lifestyles and make it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle and wheel for every day journeys.”