A PEDESTRIAN bridge across a busy railway line which was supposed to close for five weeks of refurbishment is still shut ...
five MONTHS on.
The continued closure is forcing pedestrians to take their chances on a narrow pavement next to a busy stretch of road instead.
The footbridge links the Clarkston Toll shops in East Renfrewshire's Busby Road to the nearby train station car park, library and Clarkston Hall.
A 67-year-old man was killed after being hit by an HGV as he crossed the road at a busy near-by junction in April.
Some local business owners fear there could be further accidents, and claim trade is suffering.
Gordon Paterson, who owns a designer kitchen business and is vice chairman of the Clarkston Business Improvement District (BID) group, said: "There is a safety issue here.
"There was a man killed not that long ago. People are walking closer to the traffic.
"The car park is also the only one for shoppers in the area, so access to it has a pretty major impact on businesses."
Shop owner Gillian Blair posted this warning on the East Renfrewshire Council Facebook page: "I pass there on a daily basis, and I fear for the safety of pedestrians, especially schoolchildren, who would normally cut through the car park and over this bridge.
"Instead, they are walking and cycling on the narrowest of pavements around a very busy corner.
"I have seen several near misses in the last few weeks.
"In addition, it seems that these works are also discouraging people to park and use the local shops."
East Renfrewshire Council announced in February that it was going to shut the bridge for refurbishment, which was expected to take just over a month.
But five months on they say they are still waiting "technical approvals" to allow the closure of the Glasgow to East Kilbride railway line, which passes under the bridge, to carry out the work.
A council spokesman said: "The works are very close to the railway line and safety of the repair team is obviously a major priority. We have previously issued technical details to network rail who have since come back looking for additional information.
"That new technical spec has now been issued to them which should satisfy their requirements.
"Our roads service is working closely with Network Rail to ensure we can gain possession of the site as soon as possible.
"The council apologises for the inconvenience this delay has caused residents and local businesses but rest assured everything in our power is being done to complete the project as quickly as possible."
But Network Rail said the blame for the delays lies with the council.
A spokesman said: "We have not yet received the necessary technical details about the refurbishment and alteration works that East Renfrewshire Council wishes to carry out. The council needs to provide this information before we can agree to the project proceeding.
"We need to be satisfied that what is proposed will not affect the safety and integrity of the railway."