Work builds on a rich past for a new future

Progress is evident on the ground at James Watt Dock and one of the biggest targets is making sure the dock itself is ship-shape for a major maritime event. When the iconic vessels of the 2011 Tall Ships Race sail into the dock it will be another major vote of confidence in the area.

The overall project was praised recently by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, who visited Riverside Inverclyde to hear about the plans and progress. He said: "It's a phenomenal undertaking. People looked at the Clyde in the past and thought the river was part of our history, not part of the future. It's clear this regeneration will bring the river to life again."

The highly technical - and widely welcomed - work to make the Sugar Warehouse wind and watertight, at a cost of £3.7 million, should be completed in October, after which the next phase of the warehouse's development will be ready to begin.

The major road improvement contract has been out to tender and work is scheduled to start in 2010. This will comprise the construction of a dual carriageway, pedestrian footpaths and a roundabout, with alterations and traffic lights at East Hamilton Street. Also ready to start soon will be the stockpiling of material on Garvel Island for infilling work.

Riverside Inverclyde Head of Operations George Hunter said activity was intense, although not all of it was visible. "We are costing out the next stage of the Sugar Warehouse, and initiating talks with marina operators and cafe and restaurant operators, as well as constantly reviewing the masterplan," he said. "There's so much happening it's hard to single out one thing, but it's all taking the project further down the road to delivery."

With a timeframe of 12 years for the entire James Watt Dock project, change won't be achieved overnight, but progress on the ground will be more easily seen once the roads and infrastructure are completed, with services in place to allow the various elements of the site to be subdivided for developers and house builders.

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