NEARLY nine million pounds has been invested in three Uist transport projects which were officially opened this week.
The North Ford causeway improvements costing £3.3million, the new Lochmaddy Pier building totalling more than £600,000 and the Kallin Harbour extension and new ice plant costing over £4.3million were celebrated in ceremonies on site.
1.4 miles of the North Ford have been double tracked in works paid for by a specific grant from the Scottish Government following the storm of January 2005.
Speaking at the opening, Uist councillor Uisdean Robertson said: “I am sure most people here will all recall the hurricane force winds which battered the Western Isles overnight on 10th January 2005 resulting in the tragic loss of a whole family not far from here.”
He added: “The power of the sea was clearly evident at many coastal locations, no more so than at Ceann a Gharaidh, Eriskay and here at the North Ford causeway where large armour stones weighing many tonnes were just thrown aside.”
He paid tribute to the Comhairle members and officials who had made the case to the Scottish Government that extensive improvements and not just repairs should be carried out following the storm.
He also thanked the consultants and contractors and Comhairle staff involved in the project.
Next stop was the opening of the Lochmaddy Ferry Terminal which was opened by Cllr Archie Campbell.
He thanked all those involved in the project including the local community.
“This has been a complex project in a difficult environment, not only did the tide come and go but a large ferry came alongside the building site on a regular basis and it is to the credit of the contractor JJ MacDonald that they have managed and delivered the project in cooperation with the sub contractors and the Comhairle’s design team.”
Phil Preston, Managing Director of Caledonian MacBrayne speaking in Lochmaddy after the opening ceremony said: ”The new terminal has proved popular with customers and staff alike and is a welcome addition to the facilities at Lochmaddy.”
Last call of the day was to officially open the extended Kallin Pier and also the ice plant there.
The £4million extension was an investment in the local economy and particularly the fishing and aquaculture industries, said Comhairle Convener Alex MacDonald.
He said: “The result is a first rate harbour facility and ice plant. It builds on the successful ‘Fuel at Fishery Piers Operation’ and we now have an integrated facility providing a range of services to meet the needs of the local economy. Most important of all is the fact that the facilities are well used. Long may this continue.”
Pictured above is the new ferry waiting room at Lochmaddy. SGD. 22223