EYEBROWS have been raised over the cost of painting and maintaining the Burra bridge, which is set to come to nearly £700,000.
This is around £290,000 more than Shetland Islands Council had initially budgeted for.
However, the Scottish Government is providing significant levels of funding for the project through its local bridge maintenance fund.
Shetland West member Liz Peterson asked about the cost at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.
Despite the initial budget for the project being around £390,000, the lowest tender received was £656,369.
A council spokesperson said the contract is for shot blasting then a full maintenance paint of the bridge and parapets.
The parapet bolts will also all be replaced.
Assets, commissioning and procurement manager Robert Sinclair said tenders at the moment are “very volatile”, with suppliers for instance struggling with fuel costs.
“There are examples of contracts being advertised and no prices coming back because contractors are being unable to commit to hold those figures,” he said.
Peterson said some of the budgets for projects in the council’s asset investment plan, which was presented to councillors, involved some “quite amazing figures”.
Shetland Central member Davie Sandison said he was pleased the project – which has already been delayed – was moving forward and also receiving government funding.
Council convener Andrea Manson, noted, however that the health and safety regulations will mean costly scaffolding will likely form a key part of the price.
“Health and safety nowadays – you can’t do it on a rope anymore,” she said.
“You have to have it all scaffolded, and because you’re working over water there will have to be boat services at all times underneath it to make sure the staff and protected in case they fall in.
“The health and safety on it will be an absolute nightmare and it will cost a fortune for that rather than for the actual paint and brushes.”
The cost of replacing railings at Hillhead in Lerwick – £36,000 – was also brought up, while it was pointed out at a council meeting earlier in the week that the project to paint the Hamars Ness ferry terminal in Fetlar cost £450,000.
The Burra bridge meanwhile celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
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