THE cost of design work on the planned Helensburgh to Dumbarton cycle path has risen by almost £30,000, a report has revealed.

Local councillors have been advised that a series of change requests by design consultants WSP has resulted in an additional cost of £28,538 for the project.

This has resulted in the total price of WSP’s work rising by more than 10 per cent, with the total now being £253,427.

The consultants' work is expected to be complete by the end of the month, and funding is already in place for the additional cost.

A senior Argyll and Bute Council official says in the report that only once the full design package is complete will officers from the authority begin the 'land acquisition process' with land owners in the area for the designed route.

An update on the project's progress will be given at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee on Tuesday, March 14.

Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “Officers have approved five change requests from WSP, resulting in a cost increase of £28,538, taking the total cost of WSP’s work to £253,427.

"This additional cost can be accommodated within the secured external funding.

“WSP have recommenced their work package and have confirmed their work will be finished no later than March 31, 2023.

“Subsequent to WSP’s work, officers are working to identify further elements which will require to be undertaken during summer 2023 to complete the design package required for construction.

“This includes ground investigation surveys, ecology surveys which can only be undertaken during summer months, a quality review of the design work undertaken by WSP, and submission of planning application and related statutory permissions.

“Following completion of the full design package, the council’s estates team will lead the land acquisition process with landowners in order to secure the land necessary to construct the designed route.

“While funding has been secured to complete the design stages of the project, based on current funding models, to pay for construction of the route further competitive applications will be required to a range of programmes.

“[These include] the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) capital programme and the Transport Scotland Places for Everyone (PFE) programme, administered by Sustrans.

“The PFE Programme requires a minimum of 30 per cent of total construction costs are secured from other, non-Transport Scotland derived, sources.”

Ms Flanagan also indicated that a design process for an additional stage of the route, from Craigendoran to Helensburgh Town Centre, could be complete by the end of March 2024.

She added: “Officers are currently tendering for a design consultancy to identify the preferred route linking the existing cyclepath at Morrisons supermarket/Hermitage Academy to Helensburgh town centre and the new section of segregated cycleway at Helensburgh waterfront, and to develop the preferred route to concept design stage.

“It is expected this work will commence in May 2023 and be completed in financial year 2023/24.

"This work is being funded via a successful competitive application to Transport Scotland’s PFE programme.”