WORK to extend the life of the linkspan at Gourock Ferry Terminal is set to start next month.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has awarded the £1.2million contract for the project to civil engineering firm, George Leslie Limited.
The linkspan support structures will be repaired and the steel deck and associated mechanical and electrical equipment will be replaced.
Work is scheduled to begin on 5 October and be completed on 23 December, subject to weather conditions.
A nine-week closure of the linkspan, from 19 October to 18 December, is anticipated, although CMAL says it will try to reduce this where possible.
The closure will affect ferry services which use Gourock both as a primary berth and as an alternative mainland port.
It is expected that the Dunoon and Kilcreggan routes will operate to Gourock Boat Steps and this will require small amendments to timetable. Service continuity planning is ongoing and details will be published by CalMac as soon as possible.
CMAL has re-estimated the total cost of the project at £2million, a £500,000 reduction on the original estimate of £2.5 million because of an applied value engineering process.
When the project is completed, the linkspan will be able to carry vehicles, meaning Gourock will be available as an alternative mainland port for vehicle services.
Paul Colenso, senior civil engineer at CMAL, said: “Ferry passengers will no doubt be pleased to learn that this construction work is set to get underway soon.
“We know passengers travelling to and from Gourock have been inconvenienced due to age-related issues with the linkspan.
“The infrastructure is old and will benefit from being replaced, but in the meantime, these life-extending measures will improve the resilience of the linkspan until a new one is built as part of the terminal redevelopment.
“We recognise a nine-week closure period will present some challenges for passengers and we intend to make every effort to reduce the closure period, if it’s possible to do so during construction.”