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By Hugh Boag
The long awaited work to improve Ardrossan harbour should start next year with completion by 2023, the ministerial led Taskforce has said, but these dates may change.
The latest estimate for the coast of the works is £35m to £40m. This will see the realignment of the main Arran berth, a new linkspan, quay improvements and a new passenger access system to a new terminal building, among other works.
The latest details have emerged from a series of questions the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee first asked last January which have now been updated and posted on the Transport Scotland website..
The development works at Ardrossan are being overseen by the Taskforce which brings together Transport Scotland, Peel Ports Group Ltd, North Ayrshire Council (NAC), CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL), Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), the Arran Ferry Committee and Kenneth Gibson MSP.
In their statement to the ferry committee the Taskforce say: ‘The project is currently in the planning and design phase. We are currently working towards the Arran berth infrastructure works commencing in 2021; with completion of the works expected in 2023. However these dates are subject to change taking account of tender/procurement and contract award stages. A more detailed programme will be available once a contractor is appointed.’
They state that the Scottish government is committed to the delivery of the MV Glen Sannox to the Ardrossan to Brodick route, the subject of so many delays, which necessitates the proposed works to the Arran berth ensure the vessel won’t overhang the berth as this results in poor mooring arrangement and fender support. The Taskforce has ruled out the MV Glen Sannox using the alternative Irish berth as it is too big.
The ferry committee asked the Taskforce. What confidence level do you have that the Irish berth will cope during the works? They replied: ‘Peels Ports Group has confirmed that under normal weather conditions the Irish Berth can accommodate services to Brodick throughout the construction period.
‘The linkspan works are now complete with the exception of thefall arrest system and the application of the anti-slip treatment to the deck, these elements will be completed after the civil engineering works to the Irish Berth.
‘The civil engineering works to the cantilevered deck have been tendered and a contractor is to be appointed. Peel Ports Group are currently working towards these works being undertaken in spring 2021 and they will engage with CalMac regarding service continuity during the construction.’
Then the ferry committee asked the million dollar question. Are there contingency plans for delays to work or if service needs to go to Troon for a period? The Taskforce replied: ‘Yes, contingency plans for disruptions and any delays to the infrastructure works are currently being developed as part of the service continuity planning.
‘Engagement with the communities including the Arran Ferry Committee took place in January, February 2020 and more is expected throughout the year. The commitment from the Taskforce is to retain services to Arran from the Irish berth throughout the closure period,subject to safe operating conditions and weather conditions at the port.
‘Contingency planning is part of the continuity plan and as such Troon has been considered as an alternative mainland berth, in the event the Irish Berth is unavailable during the works. Throughout the period of the construction works, Gourock may also be considered as an alternative mainland berth.
‘No final decision has been taken in regard to the timetable during the works, including diversions to Troon as part of contingency plans. CalMac will work closely with the community to understand service users’needs and ensure these are considered within any temporary timetables. Engagement with the communities will be undertaken on any proposals prior to a final plan being implemented.’
The while triangle, circled, shows the area of Arran berth to be realigned. NO_B34ardrossan01