Transport Scotland has confirmed that proposals for a bridge between Orkney and the Scottish mainland are no longer being considered.
It’s told The Orcadian newspaper that the concept was later discounted at the “detail stage” following an engineering assessment of the options for a ten mile (15km) tunnel and a eight mile (12km) bridge, which found that both were impractical.
Responding to this, Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has said that “there is a debate to be had about the role fixed links may play in the future.”
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth is quoted by the Orcadian as saying the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) “did not recommend further work on the business case development of this proposed fixed link after being considered at the detailed appraisal stage”.
She said: “An engineering assessment of the shortest possible road tunnel and alternate bridge option, which measured 15kms and 12kms respectively, concluded that both options were currently impractical to construct.
“The tunnel on the grounds of fire safety and the bridge due to the potential length of span required over the deepest section of water.
“Furthermore, while the STPR2 Case for Change for the Highlands and Islands Region highlighted issues relating to the resilience of island connections, no analysis undertaken through the STPR2 process supported a conclusion that a fixed link connection between the Orkney Islands and Scottish mainland would address this strategic problem.
“Instead, STPR2 recommendation 24, recommends the renewal and replacement of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services and Northern Isles Ferry Services vessels including progressive decarbonisation by 2045.”
(Picture – Yay Images)