Scotland business

Canal works contract award for Helix visitor attraction

Computer-generated image of the horse head sculptures (courtesy of the Helix Trust)
Image caption The centrepiece of the new canal link will be two huge horse head sculptures

The construction of an international visitor attraction in central Scotland has entered a new phase with the award of a £13.5m contract for canal works.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering will undertake canal construction and design works for the £43m Helix project between Falkirk and Grangemouth.

The works include a new canal extension from the Forth and Clyde Canal down to a new sea lock on the River Carron.

The Helix project is expected to be completed in 2013.

The development will see a 300-hectare site of under-used land transformed into a major new parkland with visitor attractions.

Plans include two 30m (98ft) horse head "kelpie" sculptures and a waterway linking Grangemouth into the Scottish canal network.

Other planned developments include pathways and cycle networks and a range of community facilities.

Following its competitive tender win, Balfour Beatty will be responsible for a range of works, including a new under-bridge to the M9 feeding the canal below the major trunk road and a new lock where the "kelpies" will stand.

The Big Lottery Fund is contributing £25m to the overall project, which is being driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council, British Waterways Scotland and Central Scotland Forest Trust through the Helix Trust.

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