Following consultation with ferry operator CalMac, the work will take place over two phases: 16-18 March and 23-26 March. The seven days of closures will mean that vessels will not be able to access Castlebay linkspan on these dates.
Timings have been planned around CalMac’s non-service days, which means that there will only be three days of ferry cancellations out of Castlebay while this essential work takes place.
The dates have been timed to follow the re-opening of Uig ferry terminal on Skye, and before the introduction of CalMac’s summer timetable.
The decision to replace the lifting ropes is based on advice from specialist engineers and follows safety restrictions that were put in place last August, preventing abnormal and heavy loads from using the linkspan.
Morven Bridges, Head of Engineering at CMAL, said: “These repairs are essential and follow our regular inspections. We are working with CalMac to minimise the disruption this will cause for ferry users. Once complete, abnormal heavy loads can begin to use Castlebay linkspan again.”
“We have appointed the same specialist contractor who successfully completed – ahead of schedule – similar work at Lochboisdale in South Uist last September/October.”
A CalMac spokeswoman said: “During the Castlebay linkspan closure, we plan to alter timetabled services to and from Lochboisdale to connect with the Sound of Barra, which will allow a Barra to mainland connection to continue. Timings have been planned around CalMac’s non-service days, which means that there will only be three days of cancellations out of Castlebay while this essential work takes place.
“Advance notice will be given to customers and hauliers that space will be limited due to the size of the vessel which operates on the Sound of Barra, and that this space will be allocated to essential freight in the first instance.”