Upgrade to lifeline berths welcomed as Kerrera slipway and breakwater completed
WORK to upgrade ferry berthing for the island of Kerrera has been completed.
The improvements, which began in January 2016, include an extension of the slipways at Kerrera and Gallanach and construction of a new breakwater, which will improve the resilience of the ferry service in poor weather and remove the previous restrictions on freight and deliveries caused by low tides.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns ferries and 26 ports and harbours on the west coast of Scotland and Clyde Estuary, worked in partnership with the local community to agree plans for the upgrade.
The consultation led to a change in the breakwater design from large boulders to a structure where a lifeboat can moor alongside to allow medical evacuation.
‘This will significantly reduce response time, potentially saving lives.
Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said: ‘I am very pleased to see the work at Kerrera is now complete and the community can start to reap the benefits of the upgraded berthing facilities.
‘The new breakwater and extended slipways will lessen the impact of difficult weather conditions and remove tidal restrictions, improving ferry resilience and allowing a better flow of vessels on the route. I recently visited the works myself and saw first-hand the significant impact these new facilities will have.
‘The Scottish Government has pledged to provide the best possible ferry services for the communities that rely on them, and this investment is further proof of that commitment.’ Ruairidh Campbell, project manager at CMAL said: ‘We are delighted to see the completion of this significant project on time and within budget.
‘The upgrade will provide a more reliable and resilient ferry service for islanders.
‘The changes mean the local community has access to an unrestricted service, which will make life easier for islanders who rely on the services, for example, farmers who take their livestock to market on the mainland.
‘The new breakwater improves the resilience of the ferry service in poor weather, making cancellation and delays less likely for weather-related reasons, which is reassuring for those who travel daily to the mainland for school and work.
‘The work at Kerrera is part of our ongoing commitment to develop and maintain our port and harbour infrastructure to provide safe and efficient lifeline ferry services to communities around Scotland.’
The new breakwater on Kerrera, photographed by Neil Owen.