UK: Peterhead Port Expansion Enters Final Phase

Blasting will take place at a busy north-east harbour next week as work on a multimillion-pound port expansion enters its final phase. The massive Smith Embankment project at Peterhead is just weeks away from completion.

Work to build a 650ft quay and 330ft breakwater at the busy Buchan port began in April last year, after securing £5million funding from the Scottish Government and the European Fisheries Fund.

The improvements are being carried out primarily to meet the demands of the pelagic fleet, which fishes for herring, mackerel and other oily fish.

Yesterday harbour bosses confirmed that the project – the biggest new development in Peterhead’s history – was on target to finish by the end of September.

Peterhead Port Authority chief executive John Wallace said: “We’re delighted with the progress that’s been made so far. It looks like we will finish on time and within our budget. The quay should be completed by the end of this month, then the last stage will be installing a mooring dolphin at the end of the pier. This will give boats a safe place to berth.”

About 3.5million cubic feet of sand, silt and rock has been dredged as part of the project.

More blasting work to deepen the seabed at the port will be carried out from Monday. This part of the operation is expected to last around three weeks.

Mr Wallace said: “The next stage of dredging will take place on the outer fringes of the deepened area.

“We want to assure people that all material removed as part of this work will be disposed of at sea, not taken ashore.”

He said the blasting would be audible to properties around the harbour area.

“If anyone hears loud bangs coming from the Smith Embankment area, they’ll know it’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

The project has been about six years in the making, but the plans have moved forward swiftly since the merger between Peterhead Bay Authority and the Peterhead Harbour Trust in 2006.

The deepening of the harbour could pave the way for lucrative decommissioning work, expected to be worth between £15billion and £20billion over the next 20 years, in the oil industry.

About 60 jobs have been created during the construction phase, with about 100 to follow once the project is finished.

By Jamie Buchan

[mappress]

Source: pressnews, July 15, 2010;

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