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Community / Cullivoe road upgrade could take years to reach completion

A section of the road which runs between Gutcher and Cullivoe. © Google 2019

THE PROPOSED upgrade to the Cullivoe road in Yell could only completed in 2027 – if it gets the go-ahead.

The upgrade of the B9082 was made a priority road project late last year, with the estimated total capital cost coming in at over £4 million.

But a timeline presented to members of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee on Monday showed that 2027 is the anticipated finish date, should the project get the go-ahead.

Roads manager Dave Coupe was questioned about the timescale, but he said the project would have effectively to start from scratch and would be a lengthy process.

The finer details of how the new road could look have yet to be confirmed, and there are several options available.

Council staff previously said the B9092 between Gutcher and the Cullivoe pier is “no longer considered fit for purpose due to the recent significant increase in the number of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) using the road”.

It is a vital link road for the fishing and aquaculture industries which use the pier.

Its problems have effectively delayed plans from North Yell Development Council to build a new marina and extend the business park in the area – which is in line for £1.3 million of government funding – as the SIC believes construction traffic would see the road deteriorate further.

However, the development council has lodged an application bring materials in by sea in a bid to avoid the road issue.

Coupe confirmed to councillors that the condition of the road in question is monitored regularly, thanks to a member of staff who lives nearby.

A strategic outline case for the Cullivoe project has been produced, and if approved an outline business case and full business case could then follow.

At Monday’s meeting councillors supported spending an extra £100,000 a year to employ additional staff to oversee the design process of major road upgrades, although that decision will have to be approved by the full council on Wednesday.

It is hoped that this will mean the council will not have to employ consultants, making the process more efficient.

A total of seven upgrade projects have been identified and ranked in order of priority, with Cullivoe on top.

The A970 at Levenwick is second on the list, with the A971 in the west mainland third.

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison noted that while progress should be welcomed, expectations in the community should be managed because the projects still require significant funding before they can become viable.