The Helix is a mammoth £43 million project that will transform 300 hectares of under-used land into a thriving environmental community. It will dramatically improve the lives of local people, enable access to waterways using 21st century engineering ingenuity, connect the communities of Falkirk and Grangemouth and draw thousands of visitors from near and far.
So called because of the distinctive ‘DNA’ shape of the development as it spirals between Falkirk and the Forth, the Helix will become a unique outdoor space that includes woodland and waterways, a central park complete with lagoon, and a network of cycle paths and walkways.
The project will also construct a canal link which connects Grangemouth and the Firth of Forth into Scotland’s extensive canal network. This will involve the installation of a fulllength canal extension from the existing Forth and Clyde canal down to a new Sea Lock on the River Carron.
This will see the creation of a new tunnel which will take the canal and its towpath under the M9 and into a specially constructed lock and basin where the ‘Kelpies’ will be positioned. The Kelpies are two 30m high sculptures in the shape of horse’s heads. One of them will move to displace the water required to operate the canal lock.
Created by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, the mythical ‘Kelpie’ horse heads pay tribute to the role of the heavy horse throughout Scottish history, the country’s canal network, and Falkirk’s own Clydesdale horse, Carnera, the largest in Britain.
The Helix project, which has received a £25m grant from the Big Lottery Fund as part of its Living Landmarks Programme, will progress over three distinct phases, spanning a 10 to 15 year period.
Using a phased approach, this case study outlines Royal HaskoningDHV’s role in the project to date.