Work has started on a £440,000 upgrade that will provide quicker and more efficient access for ferry users in Stornoway.

During April, additional marshalling approach lanes will be installed at the ferry terminal. Together with corresponding changes to check-in procedures, the increased capacity will reduce delays on Shell Street during busy early morning and lunchtime check-in periods.

Improvements are also being carried out to the terminal building car park and drop-off areas. These will include the mini roundabout at the terminal building being removed and a new exit route created via a revised car park layout.

The changes will mean car parking will be closer to the building, turning areas at the terminal building will be larger and there will be additional drop-off spaces at the terminal, as well as improved passenger walkways and access.

The work is being carried out by Breedon Hebrides and follows discussions involving Stornoway Port Authority, Calmac Ferries ltd, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Transport Scotland. The works, costing about £440,000 in total,  are being 50 per cent funded by Transport Scotland.

The Port Authority is also working towards creating further drop-off areas within its Shell Street long-stay car park, and it is anticipated this will be completed before the summer.

The authority’s Chief Executive Alex MacLeod: “In light of experience gained in using the upgraded facilities, it became apparent that both the marshalling layout and parking arrangement at the ferry terminal required further development.

“Working with our partners, the Port Authority has, over the last year, been investigating alternative options to determine the safest and most efficient use of the ferry terminal reclamation area.

“Following these discussions, we have started the alterations which will lead to significant improvements to the terminal area.

“Extensive traffic management arrangements will ensure that there will be minimal effect on ferry terminal users during this time.”

Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said: “I’m very pleased to see this work get underway, which will help improve operations at Stornoway Harbour and better manage the impact of ferry traffic on local roads.

“These new measures will also improve the customer experience, disabled access at the terminal building, and safety for passengers and staff.  I look forward to visiting the harbour once the work is complete and seeing the new facilities in action.”