POOR weather has seen work on the replacement Toft Pier halted for over two months.
Members of Shetland Islands Council’s harbour board were told on Wednesday that work is expected to resume at the beginning of March.
A report presented to the board said that Devon-based contractor Teignmouth Marine Services applied to leave site for Christmas and New Year two weeks early due to weather forecasts.
The contractor then suggested that returning to the site in early January could lead to further weather delays and associated costs.
“This decision will have some effect on the programme, but barring significant further delays, the project will be substantially complete by summer 2020,” the report said.
Work began on the project, which is costing nearly £3 million, in August.
Shetland Islands Council secured funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for around a third of its costs.
Lerwick councillor Amanda Hawick sought assurances that the delay will not generate extra cost for the council, with infrastructure director John Smith saying it is “being handled as effectively as possible”.
Work on the project had already been held back by around seven weeks due to “unforeseen and uncontrollable delays” in gaining the necessary marine licences to allow things to get underway in early summer.
The project to rebuild and extend the pier was approved by councillors last year, with the hope that it could attract more fishing traffic.
Vehicle access to the pier – which is often used by shellfish boats – was closed off in 2014 before it was fully shut in 2016 as a result of its deteriorating condition, with a pontoon installed alongside the pier instead to allow berthing.
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