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A £2.5 million planned investment to repair and extend the life of the linkspan at Gourock ferry terminal has finally been announced this week.
As reported in the Banner last week the announcement, which was expected from Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), came on Tuesday. However, while it should mean a port of refuge for the Arran sailings the work will not be complete until the end of the year.
The linkspan which is eight years beyond its serviceable 40-year life has been unable to take the weight of vehicles since November 2018, resulting in Arran losing its port of refuge.
The freshly confirmed project will involve repairs to the linkspan support structures and the replacement of the steel deck which will then allow the linkspan to carry vehicles again.
Plans to appoint an engineering firm to carry out the work are now underway by CMAL and it is anticipated that the work will be complete in late 2020.
Ramsay Muirhead, director of port infrastructure and planning at CMAL, said: ‘This is welcome news for ferry users. The age of the linkspan at Gourock has been causing operational issues for several months and we know it has created significant inconvenience.
‘Working with a specialist consultant engineering firm, we have identified a solution that will return normal vehicle-carrying capacity. It means Gourock will be available as an alternative mainland port for vehicle services.
‘This is a significant investment in life-extending measures to improve the resilience of the linkspan until a new one is built as part of the terminal redevelopment.’
CalMac’s director of operations, Robert Morrison, said: ‘We welcome CMAL’s commitment to investing in Gourock linkspan to enable vehicles to use it again. It will be a welcome development for the communities of Bute and Arran, who rely on it as an alternative mainland port.’
Despite Transport Scotland being well aware of the significant issues with the linkspan since 2017, and CMAL working on a Gourock masterplan to develop the harbour and its functionality since 2016, the linkspan was allowed to fall into disrepair in 2018 which left Arran and Bute without a vehicular port of refuge.
The project will require temporary linkspan closure for a short period, most likely in autumn of 2020. Further details will be shared by CMAL following the appointment of an engineer to finalise the programme and carry out the works.
The 48-year old linkspan at Gourock and the support structures will be repaired at a cost of £2.5 million. No_B08linkspan01