A NEW gas pipeline constructed under the Clyde from Old Kilpatrick to Erskine has been brought into service.

Gas started flowing through the two-kilometre pipeline at a recent commissioning ceremony.

It replaces two 1.5km pipelines previously suspended under the Erskine Bridge.

The original pipes had become costly and time consuming for Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) and the Scottish Government to maintain and a decision was taken to remove them from the bridge.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, the MP for West Dunbartonshire, said: “The Erskine Bridge is an iconic landmark, connecting the communities of West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire across the Clyde for almost 50 years.

“It’s an honour to officially open this new pipeline along with my colleague Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, which will ensure a safe and reliable supply of natural gas to thousands of local homes and businesses.”

Construction work started in March last year and horizontal directional drilling was used as the new pipeline stretched from St Patrick’s Church in Old Kilpatrick to Mar Hall Golf Club in Bishopton.

Project manager David Rae said: “We’re delighted to commission this new pipeline following the many challenges we’ve overcome during this hugely-complex project.

“In total, over 260 sections of 450mm diameter steel pipes, manufactured in the UK and each weighing 2.2 tonnes, have been commissioned.

“By using the latest in technology, our expert engineers successfully drilled under the entirety of the River Clyde in challenging ground conditions.

“Our micro-tunnelling operation under Old Kilpatrick Railway Station was also quite a feat of engineering. We needed to approach this in one continuous section, tunnelling for 24-hours a day.”

Mr Rae said the success of the project was also due to continual and regular engagement with local communities.

The company also created a temporary car park following feedback from hillwalkers, on route to the Kilpatrick Braes.