Milestone reached at Uig Harbour redevelopment project
Works on the replacement of vital infrastructure at Uig harbour have achieved a significant milestone this week.
The first stage of works to prepare for the replacement of the vessel linkspan has been completed and ferry services to and from Uig Harbour can resume from 23 March.
The preparation work, which included new piled foundation structures, was installed during the high-risk winter period to ensure that timetabled services could be maintained throughout the remainder of the winter and upcoming summer timetable period.
The upgrade is being taken forward thanks to up to £38 million of investment from the Scottish Government.
Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said: “These works at Uig are essential to ensure the ferry services on the Little Minch routes can continue to serve communities and visitors for many years to come.
“The team has worked extremely hard, despite challenging weather conditions and technical design challenges, to install the permanent and temporary works to allow the re-opening of ferry services. The council appreciates the patience of the communities who use the route and apologises for the disruption that they have experienced.”
The council and all parties involved, RJ McLeod, Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and CalMac, will continue to work with the communities through the remainder of the construction works.
Councillor Gowans added: “The goal of this ambitious project is to have new infrastructure, which will maintain vital ferry services to our Island communities, completed in the summer of 2024.
“Facilities for passengers will be greatly enhanced with a new terminal building, marshalling area, waiting room and covered walkway to the vessel. In addition, the project will provide robust infrastructure which is more resilient to the weather and tidal conditions in Uig.
“Work remains on schedule and within budget and will continue through the summer period prior to the second planned closure in October (30 Oct 2023 to 11 Dec 2023) this year to allow the new linkspan to be installed and commissioned for ferry services to resume before Christmas 2023.
“Once again I thank the communities for their understanding and patience and for all those involved for their hard work to get to this stage.”
Chair of the Skye and Raasay Committee, Councillor John Finlayson said: “I am sure everyone appreciates the challenges that have been faced with winter weather and also the need to ensure everything was fully in place to allow the safe resumption of ferry services following the closure.
“While I can appreciate the frustrations being expressed due to the delay in re-opening ferry services, for me, the bigger picture is the one we should all be focussing on which will result in new and improved infrastructure to support the lifeline ferry services that serve both Skye and the Western Isles in the years ahead. It is also important that community liaison continues on an ongoing basis and when the next closure starts at the end of October.”