Upgrade of Hebridean ferry terminals planned

CalMac Ferry
CalMac Ferry

A ferry firm has confirmed the dates for the closure of the linkspans at Coll and Tiree terminals, which will be removed for replacement works.

The linkspan decks are reaching the end of their serviceable life and are being replaced as part of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited’s ongoing programme of harbour upgrades and improvements.

During the closure periods, vehicles will be unable to travel to the islands.

The Coll linkspan will be out of service from Monday, October 28 and will be back in service on Thursday, November 21.

The Tiree linkspan will be out of service from Monday, February 24, 2020 and will be back in service on Tuesday March 17.

The linkspan closure date for Tiree has been brought forward by two weeks to ensure it is back in full working order ahead of the start of the summer 2020 timetable.

Throughout this period, the ferries will operate a passenger only service, supplemented by a third party freight vessel service for transportation of essential goods.

Brian Sydney, senior civil engineer at the firm, said: “Each linkspan replacement will require a linkspan closure period of three to four weeks to complete the works, subject to weather conditions.  If we can reduce the timescale, we will.

“Passengers can still travel to and from the islands during this time and an alternative freight service will be available.

“Essentially, the islands remain open for business, but vehicles will be unable to travel to or off the islands during this time.

“We understand the vital and lifeline link the ferry service provides to these islands and our aim is to minimise the disruption to normal life on the islands as far as possible.

“Working with CalMac, we reviewed capacity numbers and selected the periods of lowest traffic to minimise the impact of the linkspan closures.

“We hope that confirmation of the linkspan closure dates will allow some people to plan ahead to help ease inconvenience.”