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Problems elsewhere in the ferry network have helped delay the progress off work on the ferry terminal and pier at Lochmaddy.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar stated today (Friday November 25) that "Challenges arising from technical complexities associated with the caisson works are impacting on the delivery of the infrastructure improvements at Lochmaddy Pier."

The improvements at the port, being undertaken by George Leslie Ltd on behalf of CnES and Transport Scotland, include the extension of the pier.  This is being achieved by the installation of a 33m long reinforced concrete caisson which was constructed in a Belfast dry-dock and towed to its temporary location within Lochmaddy Harbour at the beginning of September.

The contractor has since been installing the permanent fenders and other equipment to the caisson and preparing the seabed at the end of the existing pier to enable the caisson to be moved to its final location.

The installation process faces a number of technical and operational constraints, such as tidal conditions, inclement weather, reducing daylight hours and increased ferry movements within the port due to the closure of the Lochboisdale linkspan in October, all whilst minimising the risk of disruption to the lifeline ferry service.

Given these challenges, and subject to there being a suitable “weather window”, it is now envisaged that the caisson will be towed into its permanent position in January.

The project delivery team continue to liaise with CalMac to ensure that any risk of disruption to the ferry service is kept to an absolute minimum.

Updates will be provided to the communities in the Uists in the coming weeks as a final date for the movement of the caisson to its permanent location is agreed.

Lochmaddy Pier - Caisson fender installation in progress (November 2022) Photo by George Leslie Ltd