WORK to transform three Greenock town centre underpasses, including the restoration of much-loved tile murals of historic Clyde-built ships, is underway.
Inverclyde Council is leading the overhaul of the pedestrian tunnels at either side of the Bullring Roundabout and the one at Regent Street.
Contractors have started work today, installing decorative panels at each site to make the underpasses more welcoming for locals and visitors.
Included in the project is the Bullring South underpass, which features tile murals of Clyde-built paddle steamers.
The tiles were recently cleaned by hand as part of the preservation of the artwork and will now be covered with more durable panels featuring images of the same vessels on top of a fresh, new background.
The other Bullring underpass and the one at Regent Street will be livened up with the addition of eye-catching comic strip panels depicting famous Inverclyde characters and stories in collaboration with local company Magic Torch Comics.
All three will remain open during the work, which is expected to last until Friday.
Councillor Michael McCormick, Inverclyde Council’s convener of environment and regeneration, said: “These underpasses have suffered from graffiti and other forms of vandalism over the years and, while we cannot legislate for that sort of unacceptable behaviour, I am pleased that the council is taking action to make these busy walkways more appealing for residents and visitors alike.
“It’s particularly pleasing that a solution has been found to preserve the historic paddle steamer tiles while continuing to showcase the very artwork that this mural is famed for on new, more durable panels.
“The new comic-themed designs for the second Bullring underpass and the one on Regent Street will also add something completely different to the area.”
The overall budget to refresh all the town centre underpasses, including the recently completed revamp of the West Stewart Street tunnel, is £31,000 as part of a regeneration programme being funded by Riverside Inverclyde.
The council has been liaising with Greenock Town Centre Regeneration Forum and other partners to develop plans to restore and preserve the paddle steamer tiles while creating a fitting replacement mural.
The tile murals feature scale drawings of iconic Clyde-built paddle steamers taken from artwork by Scottish artist Robert Stewart.