Installation of the new linkspan at Gourock Ferry Terminal has been delayed after additional surveys revealed issues with the existing berth structure. The completion date for the project is now likely to move into early 2021 as a result.
The LARA 1 crane barge removed the old linkspan at the start of November and subsequent infrastructure and underwater surveys have uncovered unexpected anomalies in the 50-year old berth, making it difficult to put the new linkspan into place.
The LARA 1 crane barge is currently at Gourock Ferry Terminal as part of plans to install the new linkspan this week. However, CMAL has decided to demobilise the install operation and undertake the necessary rectifications to the berth structure before proceeding with the new linkspan lift-in operation.
Paul Colenso, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said:
“We’re extremely frustrated by this unexpected issue. Extensive surveys were conducted as part of the project planning process. However, the old linkspan was concealing issues that only became apparent through the technical checks we conducted after it was removed. This can happen with marine engineering projects, when positioning of harbour structures and water levels mean it is not possible to see everything.
“Unfortunately, additional work is required to address the issues, which will inevitably cause delays. The programme for rectifying the issue has not yet been determined, but we anticipate the installation of the linkspan and the subsequent return of the berth to full operations will now be in January 2021. We will be able to provide more clarity around the revised programme in the next couple of weeks.”
Delivery of new fenders for the project has also been delayed. The fenders are on a container ship waiting to enter the Port of Felixstowe, which is currently experiencing widely publicised issues with delays and stockpiles created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest update CMAL has is that the ship may enter the port this weekend. The fenders are essential to complete the project and allow the linkspan to be commissioned for use.
CMAL, which owns Gourock Ferry Terminal, started the linkspan life extension project in October, with an original completion date of 23 December. The project is delivering repairs to the linkspan support structures and dolphins and replacing the steel deck and associated mechanical and electrical equipment. When complete, Gourock will be available as an alternative mainland port for vehicle services.
CMAL is progressing options for the redevelopment of Gourock Ferry Terminal as part of an overall project to deliver a modern, reliable and resilient lifeline passenger ferry service between Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan.