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Work starts on Nether Lochaber slipway (15/09/10)
Work started this week on emergency repairs to the lifeline Corran Ferry at Nether Lochaber with the good news for users that , following consultation with the local community, The Highland Council has devised a way of repairing the slipway that minimises disruption to services.
Being carried out for The Highland Council by George Leslie Ltd, the repair is needed because the slipway, at its outer end, has reached the end of its life with potential collapse of the side wall and deck surface.
The initial preliminary works involve preparing anchors, abutment and access for a temporary berth which will allow the ferry to continue to operate clear of the works on the slipway.
A Spud Leg barge, which will act as a temporary floating pier for the ferry, is expected to arrive on site - weather permitting - between 27 September and 1 October. At this time the ferry operation may be interrupted for up to six hours while the barge is manoeuvred into position. Again this is all dependent on tides and weather.
The barge will then be ballasted and adapted to integrate with the MV Maid of Glencoul, which will replace the larger ferry the MV Corran when it leaves for its refit on Saturday 25 September. The adaption operations may take a few days before the new floating barge becomes fully operational. After the switch over to the temporary barge, a 3-tonne weight restriction will be in operation and the ferry will operate during daylight hours only. There will also be some changes to public transport.
Further details of the interruption and the timetable for the transfer to the temporary berth will be notified via press, site notices and internet nearer the time when full details have been finalised. After the floating berth has become operational the contractor will have unrestricted access to the works on the slipway.
The Highland Council Leader Councillor Michael Foxley, who represents the area, said: “This is a difficult project as we need to carry out essential works and maintain an essential ferry service so we have sourced the floating barge which is unique in the UK to assist with a temporary berth.
“We have worked fully and closely with the local community and the emergency services on the details of the contract to come up with a solution which will allow the ferry to continue its operation. Safety, however, is a high priority and this dictates that there may be some restriction on the full ferry service. The public are advised to pay close attention to media announcements towards the end of September for full details of the programme and timetable for the temporary arrangements.”