SSEN Transmission and their principle contractor Balfour Beatty have been working closely with Forestry and Land Scotland to ensure public access restrictions are limited and outdoor forestry users can keep safe during the construction of the Inveraray to Crossaig project in Argyll.
The project will replace the existing overhead transmission line between Inveraray and Crossaig, reinforcing the transmission network in Mid Argyll and Kintyre. Starting in late September 2019, the project is split into two construction phases: the first runs from Inveraray to Port Ann and is expected to be complete towards the end of 2021; the second phase, from Port Ann to Crossaig, is expected to begin construction in 2021 and is due to be completed in summer 2024.
As the project ramps up in the New Year, construction activity in the Achnabreac area will increase. Construction vehicles transporting stone and concrete for the creation of access tracks and the delivery of materials to site, as well as timber lorries, will use the forest road adjacent to the A816, where Forestry and Land Scotland’s Firetower Trail is located.
Kelly Scott, SSEN Transmission Community Liaison Manager said:
“Along with our principle contractor Balfour Beatty we have been working with Forestry and Land Scotland to develop an access plan at Achnabreac, with a primary goal to maintain as much public access as possible during construction. However it became clear during early discussions that in order to maintain a safe environment for users, access to the Firetower Trail would need to be closed.
“During projects such as this, we actively work to mitigate impacts of construction. We have implemented measures to ensure that the three walking trails will remain open, including the popular Cup and Ring trail. We ask that users look out for signage which will help visitors to keep safe. We would like to thank recreational forestry users in advance for adhering to the safety signage and apologise for any inconvenience caused”
John Rennie, Balfour Beatty Project Director said:
“We are pleased to have been able to work with SSEN and Forestry and Land Scotland to limit disruption to the popular Cup and Ring trail whilst we deliver this key local infrastructure project.”
These closures are temporary and are expected to be in place until the middle of 2020. Forestry users can expect to see physical barriers and signage to alert them to activity around the worksite as well as increased safety measures for the escort of large construction vehicles. Further information on the temporary closures will also be posted online by Forestry and Land Scotland.
Joanne MacLean, Community and Visitor Services Ranger for Forestry and Land Scotland’s said of the plan:
“We would like to thank SSEN and Balfour Beatty for their efforts to maintain access during the construction over the upcoming months. We know the trails are widely enjoyed by people throughout the year and we were keen to ensure their enjoyment is disrupted as little as possible.”
Alternative thrilling mountain bike trails which can be explored whilst the Firetower Trail is closed can be found on the Forestry and Land Scotland Website.