THE MILLENNIUM Link project is nearing its half way stage and sections of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals are being reopened, delegates were told at the AME's recent Rehabilitation of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals conference.
British Waterways director Jim Stirling described how crowds of local people gathered alongside the Broxburn in Scotland on 7 May as the first section of the Union Canal was reopened.
Dozens of boats traversed the free flowing section between Broxburn and Ratho amid lively celebrations, following the removal of blockages at the M8 and Greendykes Road in Broxburn.
The Forth & Clyde canal also celebrated the reopening between Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs shortly afterwards on 21 May.
'This is a real milestone for the Millennium Link, ' said Stirling.
'The Millennium Link project is designed to regenerate canal side economies by creating thriving enterprises based around the waterways.' Stirling added that the canals had once been a hub of activity.
However, Stirling said that since the Union Canal was closed in 1965, and the Forth and Clyde in 1962, the canals had fallen into varying states of disrepair.
'Sections of the canals have been built on or filled in. Out of a total of 100km of canal, 2km were lost altogether, ' he said, adding that there is still much to do before all 35 obstructions on the two canals are removed.
The £78M project is the largest heritage project to take place in Scotland.
The Millennium Commission provided £32.2M of the funding required for the regeneration, and the Scottish Enterprise Network £18.7 M.