CHALLENGES arising from technical complexities associated with caisson works are impacting the delivery of infrastructure improvement works at Lochmaddy Pier, the Western Isles Council has said.
The improvements at the port, which include an extension of the pier, are being undertaken by George Leslie Ltd on behalf of the local authority and Transport Scotland.
A 33-metre-long reinforced concrete caisson is being used to achieve the extension, with it being constructed at the 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.
However, 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, the council said that it is now envisaged that the caisson will be towed into its permanent position in January.