MAKING Musselburgh’s Electric Bridge a cycleway has been welcomed in a bid to stop “tensions” between pedestrians and cyclists on a nearby footbridge.

East Lothian Council has finished the work and cyclists are being advised to use this route over the River Esk, leaving the adjacent footbridge for pedestrian use only.

The council bought the bridge – built to carry traffic involved in the construction in the 1960s of coal-fired Cockenzie Power Station but now rarely used – from ScottishPower.

Road traffic signs were erected informing cyclists to use the Electric Bridge and the pedestrian symbol sign is displayed on the neighbouring footbridge to try and differentiate the bridges.

Water-filled barriers have been placed at each end of the Electric Bridge, narrowing access to 1.5m so stopping cars from using it.

A council spokesperson said: “Following positive engagement as part of the Spaces For People programme, we are delighted to have been able to procure the bridge and open it up for active travel.”

Musselburgh councillor Stuart Currie said: “I am pleased that we have got to this position.”

He added: “The previous arrangements on the footbridge were not satisfactory and sometimes led to tensions between cyclists and pedestrians.

“The opening of the Electric Bridge for cyclists will mean that the separate footbridge can be used for that purpose, giving enough space for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.”

While fellow ward councillor Andy Forrest added: “I welcome the fact that the Electric Bridge has been opened to cyclists.

“I have been approached by cyclists and cycle clubs about getting it opened as a safe route. It will also stop the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians when they are crossing the other bridges.

“Cyclists will be able to get across one side of the River Esk to the other safely and they can go along New Street and the quieter streets rather than High Street, and approach the John Muir Way.”

Ward councillor Katie Mackie said she was “delighted”.

“The pedestrian bridge over the Esk had become very congested so this is a good solution, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to exercise in harmony,” she said.

And ward councillor John Williamson added: “The opening of the Electric Bridge at Goosegreen to cyclists is welcomed.

“It will take bikes away from the adjacent footbridge and eliminate conflicts of who has right of way on the footbridge.

“The number of people cycling and walking has increased since lockdown in March and all too often there were complaints about cyclists not dismounting whilst crossing the footbridge. This issue will now hopefully be resolved.

“On a related issue, one thing that many pedestrians would perhaps welcome is for all bikes to have a bell so that on shared paths some warning could be given rather than a shout to get out of the way.”

The Electric Bridge was regularly opened to traffic on Musselburgh Racecourse race days to ease congestion in the town.

Local resident and cyclist Jason Rose said on Twitter: “From coal power to pedal power. Inordinately exciting to cycle over the repurposed Electric Bridge in Musselburgh. Just need the other 99.9 per cent of the road network to be like this and we’re sorted.”