100ft ‘Bigman’ statue by Kelpies sculptor earmarked for new canal bridge

Artists impression of Andy Scotts original Bigman sculpture, which would have to be redesigned to fit the new proposed canal bridge
Artists impression of Andy Scotts original Bigman sculpture, which would have to be redesigned to fit the new proposed canal bridge
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Plans for a new landmark canal bridge – which could include a giant human figure by Kelpies designer Andy Scott – are to be revived.

The “Bigman” sculpture, more than 100ft high, was to have been the centrepiece of the Glasgow project before it was shelved during the recession.

However, Scottish Canals has produced a new design for the bridge following the success of the Kelpies and nearby Falkirk Wheel boat lift.

It would enable walkers and cyclists to safely cross a junction of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Maryhill. They currently have to use a narrow road under the canal which has no pavement.

The “Bigman” – or woman – figure, symbolising the area, would use the bridge’s support pylon as its spine.

However, the sculpture would have to be redrawn in a different pose because the pylon would lean at an angle from one side of the bridge.

It had a central, vertical position in the original scheme.

Scott was delighted at the prospect of the project finally getting off the ground. His studio is close to the site and he has been based in the area for most of his working life.

He said: “I’m very hopeful of being involved. This could be a fantastic project. It would be amazing.

“The Kelpies has been a phenomenal success and it has perhaps buoyed up Scottish Canals’ aspirations to do a structure on the Glasgow side of the country. The bridge is much needed – using Lochburn Road is downright dangerous.”

The bridge would sit at the Stockingfield junction of the Bowling to Grangemouth canal, where a branch was built to take goods to and from the city centre.

Scottish Canals predicted the project could have a similar impact as the Kelpies sculptures, which were funded before the recession.

Infrastructure director Richard Millar said: “The Kelpies turned a site between a motorway and electricity pylons to a place that one million people a year visit.

“We are in the early days of having another look at the bridge. It could really inspire people and form a connection we need.

“We have produced an early design which could potentially make a very beautiful bridge.”

Millar said Scott’s involvement depended on available funding, which was being investigated.

Scottish Canals chief executive Steve Dunlop said: “We need to increase access to our canals to help shift people from cars to walking.

“We need to think much more bravely about how our infrastructure could make a difference, and this location is a significant pinch point.”