Delays to the completion of the Stornoway port upgrade have pushed back the start date for the linkspan closure at Ullapool Harbour.
Ullapool linkspan was due to close to vehicular traffic for a period of six weeks from February 22 to allow the new replacement linkspan to be fitted. However, delays to the Stornoway upgrade, necessary for the new MV Loch Seaforth to come onto the Stornoway-Ullapool service means that the closure has had to be postponed until April 20.
Martin Dorchester, CalMac’s Managing Director, said: “Ongoing improvement work to Ullapool Harbour in particular fitting the replacement linkspan has had to be delayed in light of continuing issues with the Stornoway Harbour upgrade.
“The introduction of the new vessel Loch Seaforth to the route, and the Ullapool linkspan replacement is completely dependent on the completion of the Stornoway improvements. However, to allow passengers to plan their movements as much as possible, the closure is now planned to start on Monday, April 20 for a maximum of five weeks. While we will be planning alternative travel arrangements to commence from April 20, this is still very much based on work in Stornoway being finished.”
The revised sailing schedule during the period of disruption will be:
· Up to two daily return sailing from Stornoway to Uig for passengers and vehicles.
· One daily return sailing from Stornoway to Uig for freight.
· Two daily return sailings from Stornoway to Ullapool for passengers only.
· An enhanced service (peak season level) on the Uig to Tarbert route
Provisional timetables have been drafted and CalMac will be talking to interested parties over the coming weeks around how to optimise sailing times.
Both CalMac and Ullapool harbour were keen to avoid key holiday periods and have worked hard to achieve this. CalMac are confident that the available capacity will meet the customer needs during the identified closure period.Revised timetables are currently being finalised.
“After talking to interested parties we believe these arrangements provide the best solution to this temporary but necessary closure. We have looked at all possible route options and this offers by far the best service for people impacted by these improvement works,” added Mr Dorchester.
“I’m sorry for any inconvenience this work may cause but it is for the long term sustainability of the harbour. We will continue to monitor the performance and take up of these temporary routes as the work progresses and they may be subject to change dependent on the information we get back.”