Corran Ferry Mitigation response from Highland Council
Morvern Community Council have continued their contact with Highland Council regarding the Corran Ferry issue.
Please see below the latest response from Highland Council
We are genuinely sorry to hear about the impact the current loss of service at the Corran Ferry is having on your schools, in the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The current situation has been very challenging for everyone affected by the loss of service which is why we have been focussing on finding solutions and putting in place as many mitigation measures as possible. While we understand the challenges the Corran Ferry disruption is having, our focus remains on continuing to support local businesses and communities as best we can within our resources, and ensuring the MV Corran is back in service as soon as possible. We are anticipating the MV Corran will be back in service early June.
Vessel and Shoreside Infrastructure Design – Medium / Long term solution
THC has joined CMAL’s (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd) Small Vessels Replacement Programme (SVRP)
and a specific design for a new Corran Ferry has been prepared. The SVRP provides a major opportunity to benefit from economies of scale (and thus lower costs) in vessel design and construction.
We are now at the stage where we have an approved Outline Business Case (OBC), the general arrangement drawings for the new ferries are in place and the shoreside infrastructure design will be completed by November 2023. The long term solution is “shovel ready” and the OBC has been developed in line with the H.M. Treasury Green Book ‘Five Case Model’ which is used for securing funding to deliver large scale projects in the Public Sector.
The current extended service outage raises the prominence and highlights the urgency on securing the required Capital, and this will be used as momentum to help solve the funding issue. Alongside the review of the capital programme process, efforts to identify and deliver external funding opportunities with both UK and Scottish Governments are continuing as a key priority.
MV Corran Update
The main vessels (MV Corran) return from planned refit in November was delayed due to unexpected repairs to a Voith 16 propulsion unit. All parts for the propulsion unit were sourced and ready to fit except for a slewing bearing which was proving to be very difficult to source. We are grateful to CalMac who then stepped in and released to us from their stocks a complete Voith 16 propulsion unit which has enabled repair works to commence. We are anticipating the MV Corran will be back in service by early June.
A Communication Strategy is in place to issue regular, timely updates to the public around the problems, solutions and timescales with the regular vessels and the contingency arrangements that are in place for foot passengers, including:
- Interim passenger ferry services
- Enhanced bus services
- Timetables and details
- Regular live updates on webpage and Twitter
- The peninsula is still open for business via other routes
- Drive responsibly on single track roads
- Improvements to the A861
- Use alternative routes where suitable
Traffic Scotland (@trafficscotland) and BEAR (@NWTrunkRoads) will continue to act as ‘signposts’ for Highland Council communications, directing the public to our website, social media, and press releases, etc, supporting them and emphasising them where they can.
Any enquiries about the ferry, rather than the trunk road, that come to Traffic Scotland or BEAR can be referred to the Corran Ferry webpage, the Highland Council call centre, or in exceptional circumstances an email can be forwarded to Richard Porteous.
The key press releases went out on Wednesday 12 April 2023 after approval from partners and Members, with an update about passenger ferry service timings today Monday 17 April 2023, plus coordinated webpage and social media updates (with partner agencies tagged in the tweets).
Where possible, Traffic Management improvement works are being initiated to help traffic movement on the single track A861 road around Loch Linnhe. Overnight works commenced on Sunday 16 April 2023 and will continue for 2-3 weeks.
Works will include temporary advisory signs (e.g., ‘soft verges’), permanent signs for passing places and ‘allow overtaking’ signs, extension of some passing places and some new passing places where possible. Also, a temporary speed limit order will be placed on some sections, and a free roadside recovery service will be in place using a local provider (with roadside signage displaying the number).
The Camasnagaul – Fort William service has been enhanced with more sailings since last Tuesday 11 April 2023. The main Corran Narrows Corran Ferry route has recommenced from Monday 17 April 2023 with a passenger only service following the normal timetable all day from 06:30 -21:30, which allows onward connection to existing service buses. This passenger service uses two covered fast-RIB vessels. Each can carry up to 12 passengers, and 4 pedal cycles.
There is also currently an additional commuter service up Loch Linnhe direct from Ardgour – Fort William. This runs twice daily as a trial while passenger contingency arrangements are developed and began on Wednesday night 12 April 2023. The vessel can carry up to 65 passengers. Due to the challenging sea conditions on the Corran side of the Narrows (Nether Lochaber) this vehicle cannot operate the Corran Narrows crossing route.
Parking for all of these routes is available (including using the marshalling areas at the Corran Narrows crossing) and will be kept under review. Marshals will be made available if required. Temporary kiosks have been installed at both slipways at the Narrows to provide shelter for waiting passengers and crew.