Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has confirmed dates to replace the wire lifting ropes on the Castlebay linkspan on Barra.

Following consultation with ferry operator CalMac, the work will take place from 21-26 May. Vessels will not be able to access Castlebay linkspan throughout the six days of closure.

The work was originally planned for March, but was postponed to allow for urgent work on Uig linkspan on Skye so it could return to operation.

The requirement to replace the lifting ropes is based on inspection results from specialist engineers and follows safety restrictions that were put in place last August, preventing abnormal heavy loads from using the linkspan.

Castlebay, Barra

Morven Bridges, Head of Engineering at CMAL, said: “These repairs are essential, and we are required to complete the work before the summer holiday season begins. We are aware that any disruption is unwelcome, and we are working with CalMac to minimise the disruption this will cause for ferry users. Once the work is complete, the linkspan will be returned to normal use and abnormal heavy loads can begin to safely use Castlebay linkspan again through normal prior notification to CalMac.”

“We have appointed the same specialist contractor who successfully completed—ahead of schedule—similar work at Lochboisdale in South Uist last September/October.”

Finlay MacRae, Head of Operations at CalMac Ferries Ltd., said: “During this essential maintenance period for Castlebay linkspan there will be no direct service from Oban to Barra. All options for alternative services will involve travel via the Sound of Barra (Ardmhor–Eriskay) for Uist to mainland services. Due to current issues with vessel deployments and the extended annual overhaul programme, CalMac will confirm alternative routing options week commencing 8th May.”

Categories: Piers and Harbours, Press