£5 million upgrade for Hydro footbridge

The footbridge over the Clydeside Expressway linking the SEC with Exhibition Centre station and Finnieston. Picture: Glasgow City Council
The footbridge over the Clydeside Expressway linking the SEC with Exhibition Centre station and Finnieston. Picture: Glasgow City Council
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The Glasgow footbridge which has been used by millions heading for the former SECC venue complex is to be given a £5 million overhaul.

The covered walkway linking the renamed Scottish Event Campus (SEC) with Exhibition Centre station is showing its age after 32 years service since the site opened.

Improved lighting and windows could form part of the refurbishment of the so-called "Smartie Tube".

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "It's a bit early to go into specifics, but the SEC will consider all of these options as they develop the proposal."

Scotsman.com reader Stephen Andrews said it was high time for an upgrade.

He said: "A long-overdue refurbishment of what's now an embarrassing and unwelcoming introduction for visitors to the SEC/Hydro traipsing through it from the station.

"I used it last Friday and it really is quite dismal.

"The floor is cracking and uneven, and the once see-through windows are covered in grime, slime and green residue."

An initial £600,000 grant deal with the SEC was agreed by city councillors today to devise a design and develop the project.

The council said the bridge was structurally sound but its canopy was nearing the end of its life.

It wants to create "a gateway that showcases the SEC as a world-class events and conference venue".

The former SECC has expanded from a five-hall concert and exhibition venue that opened in 1985 with the addition of the "Armadillo" Clyde Auditorium and the Hydro.

These have helped the Finnieston restaurant district flourish, linked by the bridge.

SEC chief executive Peter Duthie said: “First impressions are very important, and with a new brand, a world class arena and countless incredible events coming on site it is important our campus facilities are up to scratch.

"In many cases, the covered walkway or ‘Smartie Tube’ is the first thing visitors experience when coming to the SEC and so we are delighted with the news it is to be upgraded."

Council leader Frank McAveety said: “The SEC and its surrounding areas are key drivers of our economy.

"The redevelopment of this bridge highlights our commitment to further develop the West End and Waterfront.

"The sky is the limit for these areas and I am delighted that the Glasgow City Region City Deal is contributing to them achieving their full potential.”