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Transport / Levenwick road upgrade could get underway in 2026

Photo: Shetland News

A MAJOR project to upgrade the main road at Levenwick could begin construction in 2026, according to estimates.

This is provided it jumps through all the necessary hoops in the council’s business case process.

The A970 road above the southend village has attracted concern over safety for a number of years in part due to its width, with local councillor Allison Duncan repeatedly calling it a “death trap”.

His Shetland South colleague George Smith asked for an update on the project at a meeting of the council’s environment and transport committee on Tuesday.

He has expressed his disappointment over the pace of bringing business cases on the project to the council chamber.

Roads manager Dave Coupe said the council is working through the details of the design and has begun the process around land ownership.

He reckons that construction could potentially start in 2026 – once the council has finished building a new Cullivoe road in Yell.

The capital estimate for the preferred option to widen the road and install barriers is £4.3 million, while borrowing would also increase the overall spend.

Meanwhile a report presented to councillors at Tuesday’s meeting highlighted that the overall condition indicator for Shetland’s public road network, as of October 2020, has improved slightly.

The proportion of road that “should be considered for maintenance” was 34.7 per cent, compared to 35.6 per cent the previous year.

The Scottish average is 35.5 per cent.

When it comes to “A class” roads Shetland ranks the best out of Scotland – but when “B” and “C” class roads are included the isles are placed 17th out of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The roads team also have a busy micro-surfacing programme lined up for 2022.

In total there are 64,510 square metres of road planned for surface dressing.