Queen Elizabeth II Canal

The Queen Elizabeth II Canal is a short waterway built in the Helix between Falkirk and Grangemouth to improve navigation at the eastern end of the Forth and Clyde Canal. Officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 5th July 2017, this canal forms the gateway to the Forth and Clyde Canal, which extends across Central Scotland from the Firth of Forth in the east to Bowling on the River Clyde in the west. It runs along the southern shore of the River Carron for a half-mile (0.98 km) linking the Forth and Clyde Canal, at the Kelpies, with the Firth of Forth at the mouth of the Carron.

The 18th-century Forth and Clyde Canal originally extended a mile (1.8 km) further to the east northeast to reach Grangemouth Harbour but was cut back when the M9 Motorway was built in the 1970s as it had largely been abandoned. However, the £83.5-million Millennium Link project was designed to restore the inland waterways of Central Scotland to a navigable state and the Queen Elizabeth II Canal represented the last part of this initiative.

It represents one of the most complex canals ever constructed in Scotland because it passes beneath two major roads (the M9 Motorway and the A905) and across utility pipelines, requiring innovative engineering solutions. The contractor was Balfour Beatty, and the work was undertaken between 2012 and 2014 at a cost of £13 million.

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