Questions - and answers - over Wemyss Bay pier delay

The closure of the Wemyss Bay ferry terminal for major repairs has been delayed due to technical problems; the work is now likely to start in September 2015.
The closure of the Wemyss Bay ferry terminal for major repairs has been delayed due to technical problems; the work is now likely to start in September 2015.

The owners of the Wemyss Bay ferry terminal have published a list of at least some of the most significant questions and answers on the postponed closure of the pier for major repairs.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) announced earlier this week that the work - originally scheduled to begin on Monday, March 2 and to last for 16 weeks - would be delayed until after the summer, and are now likely to start in September.

The announcement provoked a mixture of anger, scepticism and downright derision, at least among the section of the travelling public which reads The Buteman’s website, after we published the news - not least from those who pointed out that CMAL has insisted, ever since announcing the closure in September 2014, that any delay in the work carried a serious risk of a forced shut-down of the terminal due to the poor, and worsening, condition of the fendering along the south face of the pier.

The Q&A, as published by CMAL, reads as follows.

Why are the works on the pier being postponed from March 2015 until September 2015?

The works are being postponed due to technical issues with the new fendering system. The work needed to resolve these issues will lead to a delay in the manufacturing and delivery of the fenders, which were due to be delivered during April 2015.

Continuing with the planned closure of the pier from March would almost certainly increase the duration of the shutdown, potentially meaning that the ferry terminal would be unavailable during the busy summer holiday period.

Postponing the works until later in the year, likely until September 2015, will allow time to resolve the technical issues, complete manufacture of the fenders and have them delivered to site ready for the start of construction.

Will the postponed start of the works lead to further deterioration of the existing pier?

Postponing the works does introduce an increased risk of deterioration to the existing pier, fenders and linkspan. CMAL will undertake more frequent inspections of the existing structures and take remedial action if necessary.

Will the later start to the works result in them taking longer to complete?

An autumn/winter start to the works will mean that there is an increased risk of delays due to adverse weather at the end of the year. CMAL will advise in due course what the revised programme will be.

Is there a risk that further technical problems may arise before the proposed revised start date and push it back further?

CMAL is working with all suppliers to make sure that no further technical problems will arise prior to the revised project start date.

Will additional costs be incurred by CMAL?

There may be additional costs as the work will now take place during the autumn and winter months and construction costs could be higher as contractors will have to make allowance for the increased risk of weather related delays to the works.

The cost of this is difficult to estimate at this stage but will become clear in due course.

Will any of the planned works at Wemyss Bay be undertaken prior to September 2015?

The terminal building refurbishment started on site in January 2015 and will be completed prior to the revised shutdown period. These works are being undertaken without any effect on the ferry services to/from Wemyss Bay.

Will the ferry service from Rothesay still need to run to Gourock during the works?

CalMac Ferries Ltd will run the Rothesay service to Gourock during the revised shutdown period later in the year. CalMac will provide details in due course when the revised programme of works is agreed.

Are the works at Gourock complete and able to accommodate the Rothesay service?

These works have been delayed slightly due to adverse weather conditions over the winter, however they are due to be completed during February 2015.

Will the delayed start at Wemyss Bay impact on other planned works?

The delayed start will lead to a delay to the start of the proposed Collintraive to Rhobodach improvement works, which were planned to start soon after completion of all of the refurbishment works at Wemyss Bay ferry terminal. These works will now be deferred to 2016.

Who can I contact for other questions?

For any other queries not covered above, you can contact CMAL on info@cmassets.co.uk or 01475 749920.