The key element of a £15 million Outer Hebrides water improvement project is being taken to pieces at the Highland factory where it was built to be transported to the islands.
After being dismantled into 12 modules, the water treatment works will be carried 128 miles by road and sea from Ross-shire Engineering’s base in Muir of Ord to Lochmaddy, in North Uist, where it will be put back together.
Scottish Water, which is behind the scheme that will offer improved security of supply for the island and neighbouring Berneray, said assembling and testing the equipment under factory conditions, offered “major advantages” over traditional onsite construction.
Ross-shire Engineering, which is part of the Inverness-based Global Energy Group also designed the plant. The first convoy of equipment will leave its premises on Monday morning, with five more scheduled over the following three weeks.
Scottish Water project manager, Anoushka Ainslie-McAlpine, said: “These deliveries represent an exciting milestone for this project which, once complete, will see a single, improved water supply in place for Scottish Water’s customers across North Uist and Berneray.
“The way in which this project is being delivered is a great example of Scottish Water and Ross-shire Engineering working together in an innovative way to deliver lasting benefits for customers. Assembling and testing the water treatment works under factory conditions offers major advantages.”
With a police escort, the convoys will travel by road on the A832, A9 and A82 to Uig, on Skye. From there they will sail on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Lochmaddy, before completing the journey to their permanent home.
Scottish Water said it would do all it could to keep disruption to a minimum, but advised other road users to allow extra time for journeys in case of delays.
Earlier work at the Lochmaddy site has included rock blasting to create the platform area where the water treatment modules will be reassembled and the construction of track to the site of a new pumping station by Loch Fada.