SSEN Transmission awards public road improvement contract for Fort Augustus to Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project

ssen transmission vehicle below steel lattice tower.

  • Scottish Highland civil engineering business RJ McLeod contracted to deliver public road improvements in Skye and Lochaber as part of SSEN Transmission's Fort Augustus to Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project.

After a competitive process, SSEN Transmission have awarded RJ McLeod with a multi-million-pound contract to deliver public road improvements, that are required to enable the delivery of key components for the proposed Fort Augustus to Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project. These road improvements will also enhance transport links for local residents and other road users.

The Scottish Highland-based civil engineering and construction firm will be carrying out public road improvements on Kinloch Hourn Road, Glenelg Road and Moll Road, including:

  • Construction of new passing places and improvements to existing passing places, including the removal of excess vegetation, widening, resurfacing and removal of rock outcrops that are restricting the line of sight;
  • Road widening, including excessive vegetation removal and strip widenings to roads at identified pinch points; and
  • Bridge, structure and cattle grid surveys and assessments.

RJ McLeod will also undertake access track maintenance as part of the contract, across private and forestry commission land, to improve existing access track conditions in preparation for main works construction traffic. Assessment of existing bridges and structures will be carried out to determine the requirement for any further upgrades or improvements.

To ensure that the road improvements have a long-lasting positive impact on the local community, extensive consultation between SSEN Transmission and The Highland Council’s Roads Department – with all improvements intended for permanent adoption when construction is finished, benefitting the local road network long after the Fort Augustus to Skye 132kV Reinforcement project has been completed.

Speaking on the importance of the Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project, Deputy Project Director, Paul Higginbotham, said:
“Replacing the existing overhead line from Skye to Fort Augustus is crucial in keeping the lights on for homes and businesses along its route and in the Western Isles. It will also enable the connection of new renewable electricity generation along its route, supporting Scotland and the UK’s energy security and climate change targets.

“Securing the support of RJ McLeod for carrying out public road improvements in advance of the upgrade work is a big step and demonstrates the positive economic impact that projects like the Skye 132kV Reinforcement can have – supporting jobs in local businesses.”

Acknowledging the award of the contract, RJ McLeod’s North Director, Sandy Osborne, said:
“We are very pleased to be able to continue working with SSEN Transmission through the award of this public road improvement project which will provide enhanced road improvement works to the local communities of the western Highlands. It follows delivery of various energy sector projects for the wider SSE Group across the Highlands including Bhlaraidh and Stronelairg wind farms as well as previous public road improvements on the B851 and B862 too.”

“These works continue to provide opportunity to deliver a boost to the local economy, not only in terms of employment with a local highland contractor, but also in terms of the extensive and valuable local supply chain of goods and services. An integral part of the project will be community liaison and protection of the environment and we will follow and build on the good practices deployed and refined on these and other Highland projects.”

The construction of the Fort Augustus to Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project will provide significant supply chain opportunities for local and regional businesses.

In advance of the main construction phase, SSEN Transmission and its main Contractors, Balfour Beatty, GE, NorPower, Scottish Woodlands and Wood, are planning a series of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events to promote local and regional supply chain and employment opportunities.

The first of these events is planned for 27 February 2024 in Broadford Village Hall.