Main Works Contract awarded to George Leslie Ltd February 2022; construction commenced March 2022; previous planned completion was end of August 2023 but current planned completion is now mid-September 2023.
Progress reported by contractor at end of July 2023 was as follows:
• Caisson deck cast
• Installed precast and poured link slab
• Upper deck slab shuttering and steelfixing completed
• Bollards installed to caisson
• Fender brackets at middle pier - remedials carried out.
• Timber piles to inner pier scribed and drilled, now ready for install.
• All toe pins and ground anchors installed, await testing/stressing.
• Snagging / finishing works under pier
• Beginning to strip and lower middle pier access deck.
• Signage bases and lighting columns installed.
• SSE and civils works to substation completed.
• Masonry wall at bus-stop progressing, and final foundation cast.
• Marshal area feeder pillar now live, and lightheads / cable pulling to marshal area all installed.
• Electrical boards at pontoon area now in final position.
• Other snagging and finalisation works ongoing.
The Comhairle is pleased to confirm the successful attachment of the caisson "Block Maddy" to the Lochmaddy Pier as part of the delivery of infrastructure improvements for the wider Little Minch ferry service routes. This achievement marks the penultimate milestone in the project before completion in early-summer this year.
The caisson, named by local school children as “Block Maddy” / “Bloca Loch nam Madadh”, is a 12.0m wide, 12.5m deep, 33.0m long concrete structure that weighs just over 3,200 tonnes. It was towed from Belfast to Lochmaddy in September 2022 where engineers began fitting the permanent fenders to the caisson.
The Little Minch, formerly referred to as the Skye Triangle, Infrastructure Improvement programme will improve connectivity from and to the Western Isles, with subsequent benefits for the local economy. With the successful attachment of the caisson to Lochmaddy Pier, the project is one step closer to realising these goals of making a significant contribution to growing and sustaining efficient and effective transport links for the islands.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, the Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said,
“The construction and moving of the caisson from Belfast to its permanent location at Lochmaddy Pier has been a technically complex and operationally challenging operation. The Comhairle is pleased that the operation has now been successfully completed and, with that significant milestone having been reached, the Contractor is able to move forward with completing the extension and strengthening works to the existing pier”.
Construction Director for George Leslie, Tony Fry said:
“Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure the safe and successful attachment of the caisson to the pier. The process involved extensive planning, engineering, and logistical coordination, all of which were carried out with precision and expertise. Our team's commitment to excellence and attention to detail is reflected in the successful completion of this important phase of the project.” "We are extremely proud to have landed ‘Block Maddy’. This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, and we are also very grateful for the support and cooperation of the local community and all project stakeholders. We look forward to continuing our work on the Lochmaddy infrastructure project and creating a more connected and prosperous future for Uist and beyond."
Challenges arising from technical complexities associated with the caisson works are impacting on the delivery of the infrastructure improvements at Lochmaddy Pier.
The improvements at the port, being undertaken by George Leslie Ltd on behalf of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Transport Scotland, include the extension of the pier. This is being achieved by the installation of a 33m long reinforced concrete caisson which was constructed in 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.
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”, it is now envisaged that the caisson will be towed into its permanent position in January.
The project delivery team continue to liaise with CalMac to ensure that any risk of disruption to the ferry service is kept to an absolute minimum.
Updates will be provided to the communities in the Uists in the coming weeks as a final date for the movement of the caisson to its permanent location is agreed.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has awarded a £15.3m contract to civil engineering contractor George Leslie Ltd to carry out upgrade works at Lochmaddy Pier in North Uist.
Lochmaddy Pier is owned by the Comhairle and, working closely with Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), CalMac Ferries Ltd and The Highland Council, the pier and associated infrastructure is to be upgraded to improve the ferry service provision at Lochmaddy and provide an enhanced experience for all ferry and harbour users both now and into the future.
The project forms a key part of the programme of infrastructure improvements on the Skye Triangle ferry routes with improvement works recently completed at Tarbert, Isle of Harris, and ongoing at Uig, Isle of Skye.
George Leslie Ltd will be responsible for completing all civil engineering works for the harbour upgrade project, including the extension and strengthening of the pier, upgraded fendering, seabed dredging land reclamation and extended marshalling and parking areas.
Constructions works are scheduled to start in March 2022 and completed in spring 2023. CalMac will continue to operate ferry services during the works.
Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth, said:
“I am very pleased to see the planned upgrade of Lochmaddy Pier moving forward with the award of this contract.It maintains the momentum following the recent completion of the improvement works at Tarbert and the recent award of the contract for improvement works at Uig. Work can now begin again on the construction phase of the project, which will deliver an improved experience for the passengers who use these important services.
Transport Scotland continues to work with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, The Highland Council and CMAL in the delivery of our ambitious plans for the facilities at the three ports of Tarbert, Lochmaddy and Uig through the Skye Triangle Infrastructure Improvement Programme.
The Scottish Government is providing investment of £580 million in ports and vessels to support and improve Scotland’s ferry services over the next five years, as part of our wider Infrastructure Investment Plan.
I look forward to seeing this project help to further improve connectivity from and to the Western Isles, with subsequent benefits for the local economy.”
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said:
“We are very pleased to have reached this very important milestone in the delivery of infrastructure improvements for the wider Skye Triangle route. We look forward to continuing to work with Transport Scotland, with CMAL and now with George Leslie Ltd in making significant improvements to the pier and marshalling areas at Lochmaddy.
We are confident that the investment in port infrastructure across the Skye Triangle routes will make a significant contribution to growing and sustaining efficient and effective transport links for the islands.”
Further details will be provided to the local community on the programme of works through regular engagement and communications during the construction period.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today announced that the delivery of the improvement works at Lochmaddy Pier, North Uist, will be delayed following the failure of the contractor, L&M Keating Ltd, to return to the site following their suspension of the works, initially in March due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and then again in July 2020.
Following a consideration of the contractual details by the Comhairle at the end of September, the contract with Keating has now been terminated and the Comhairle, in collaboration with Transport Scotland as key funders of the project, are exploring options for commissioning and organising delivery of the works.
In the meantime, there is a need to undertake reinstatement works at the site to ensure it is left safe and secure for the intervening period and it is planned to undertake these in the coming weeks. In addition, it is proposed to undertake a programme of enabling works over the coming months, including completing the demolition of the former Visit Scotland and former Coastguard properties and undertaking advance utility diversion works at the site.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chair of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, “Whilst we recognise the financial and organisational challenges facing the Contractor, it is crucial that we continue with the delivery of the improvement works. The decision to terminate the contract was not taken lightly and we see re-engaging with the construction sector as soon as possible as the best way forward for the project”.
Following the initial suspension of the construction works at the Lochmaddy Pier Improvement Project due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the main contractor L&M Keating Ltd suspended works again on 20 July 2020 with the intention of returning to the sites at Lochmaddy and the Inchgreen Drydock on 10 August 2020.
The contractor, who currently remains solvent, has not returned to either site and options as to how the project can continue have been considered and evaluated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s project delivery team.
Today (Wednesday 1 October 2020), the Comhairle considered a report which sets out these options and it was agreed that the Chief Executive take any actions necessary to safeguard the interests of the Comhairle, potentially including the termination of the contract with L&M Keating Ltd and the re-tendering of the works.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chair of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, “It is disappointing for the Comhairle and, particularly, the community and business sectors in North Uist that we find ourselves in this position”.
“It is however important that we continue with the delivery of the project whilst protecting the positions of the Comhairle and Transport Scotland as much as possible and it is clear that we may now have to explore alternative avenues for delivering the infrastructure improvements”.
“An additional concern for us has been the impact of the current situation on the local supply chain, including island-based subcontractors and suppliers of materials and other services. I am however confident that the mechanism now in place within the administration of the contract will minimise the impact on these businesses as much as possible”.
"The Scottish Government remains committed to the Skye Triangle Infrastructure programme and harbour upgrades at Tarbert, Lochmaddy and Uig.
“The Lochmaddy Pier project is led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and we will continue to work with them, and other members of the multi-agency Skye Triangle Infrastructure Improvement Programme Steering Group, to establish a way forward that meets the needs of all programme stakeholders and communities.
Comhairle nan Eilean Sar is currently working with contractor L&M Keating Ltd to identify and evaluate options associated with the need to continue the improvement works at Lochmaddy Pier.
The works programme has been delayed due to the implementation and subsequent lifting of restrictions to construction activity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware that the contractor, who remains solvent, is facing significant financial challenges as a result of their involvement in construction works elsewhere. Construction activities at the Lochmaddy site and at the Inchgreen drydock have been suspended by the contractor in the meantime.
The restarting of construction works is anticipated for September 2020 with completion expected by Autumn 2021. The Comhairle will continue to engage with L&M Keating Ltd to progress the works, however if parties are unable to agree a way forward, the Comhairle, in consultation with the Skye Triangle Steering Group, will have to consider options associated with the re-tendering of the works which would delay the completion of the project until 2022 .
On 24th March 2020, Comhairle nan Eilean Sar instructed the suspension of construction works in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines due to Covid-19.
L&M Keating Ltd had been on site for three weeks and had established their site compound and commenced excavation works for the extension of the car park and marshalling area.
Work ceased on construction activities, and the team made the site and compound safe, before demobilising staff and labour from Lochmaddy. Preparation works (appointing subcontractors, purchasing materials etc.) are continuing but construction activities will remain suspended until government lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has awarded a £10.1m contract to marine, civil engineering and building contractor, L&M Keating Ltd to carry out upgrade works at Lochmaddy Pier in North Uist.
Keating will be responsible for completing all civil engineering works for the harbour upgrade project, including pier strengthening and extension, upgraded fendering, land reclamation and seabed dredging. The work will commence in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in spring 2021. CalMac will continue to operate ferry services during the works.
The infrastructure upgrade work at Lochmaddy is part of the Skye Triangle Infrastructure Project, which involves significant harbour upgrades at the three ports at Tarbert, Lochmaddy and Uig. The work is designed to improve and modernise harbour facilities and prepare the way for new vessels.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse said:
“I am very pleased to see the planned upgrade of Lochmaddy Pier moving forward with the award of this contract, following the recent award of the contract for construction works at Tarbert on the Isle of Harris.
“Work can now begin on the construction phase of the project, which will deliver an improved experience for the passengers who use these important services.
“Transport Scotland continues to work with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, The Highland Council and CMAL in the delivery of our ambitious plans for the facilities at the three ports of Tarbert, Lochmaddy and Uig through the Skye Triangle Infrastructure Project. I look forward to seeing this project help to further improve connectivity from and to the Western Isles, with subsequent benefits for the local economy.”
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chair of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said:
“We are very pleased to have reached this very important milestone in the delivery of infrastructure improvements for the wider Skye Triangle route.
We look forward to continuing to work with Transport Scotland, with CMAL and now with Keating in making significant improvements to the pier and marshalling areas at Lochmaddy.
We are confident that the investment in port infrastructure across the Skye Triangle route will make a significant contribution to growing and sustaining efficient and effective transport links for the islands.”
A public meeting will be held at Lochmaddy Community Hall to update island residents on the programme of upgrade work as the contractor, Keating Construction, makes plans to begin work at Lochmaddy harbour.
The meeting will be held on Thursday 30th January, 4.00pm to 7.00pm. Individuals are invited to drop in at any time during the meeting.
Representatives from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, CMAL, Wallace Stone and Keating Construction will attend the meeting to provide information on the planned construction work and answer any questions that may arise.
Work is expected to commence mid-February 2020 and last for approximately 12 months. CalMac will continue to operate ferry services during the works.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been granted marine construction and dredge licences for the upgrade works at Lochmaddy Ferry Terminal. A copy of the decision notice and the licences are available to read below:
- Lochmaddy Marine and Dredge Licence Decision Notice- Licence Nos 07000 & 07001 (»)
- Lochmaddy Marine Construction Licence No 07000/19/0 (»)
- Lochmaddy Dredge Licence No 07001/19/0 (»)
- Lochmaddy Licence Nos 07000 and 07001 Annex 1 (»)
- Lochmaddy Licence No 07000 Annex 2 (»)
- Lochmaddy Licence No 07001 Annex 2 (»)