Long-awaited proposals to improve or replace an important road for Shetland’s aquaculture industry have been progressed today by SIC members.
The SIC has voted to approve a strategic outline case for the route between Cullivoe, Cullivoe Pier and the A968 Ulsta to Gutcher Road in Yell.
The decision triggers the preparation of an outline business case for improving the existing route.
The current road was built in 1851 and concerns have been raised about its deterioration. It is also the only suitable road serving Cullivoe Pier, which is deemed a “vital facility” for a number of industries, including aquaculture.
According to figures from Shetland Aquaculture and Seafood Shetland 30,360 tonnes of salmon were landed at Cullivoe valued at £130.5 million.
Options to improve the route vary from simple patching to the existing single track route, through to the building of a new two lane road on the same route, or alternatives, costing up to £7.8 million.
North Isles member Ryan Thomson, who is chairman of the environment and transport committee and ZetTrans, said: “This is important step towards what’s an essential project, not only for Cullivoe, not even only just for Shetland, but of national significance.
“It’s important this project is progressed and as swiftly as possible.”
Mr Thomson also said the project was s a “once in a lifetime opportunity” towards a potential fixed link to Unst.
Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall raised concerns about the inclusion of options for a route from Dalsetter, which she said had major flaws. However, her amendment to remove those options was not carried.
Several councillors also raised concerns about the potential six year time scale for the project. However, officers said there was hope this could be brought forward by a “year or two”.
Shetland Central member Davie Sandison asked whether national funding would sought given the project’s importance towards the development of Shetland’s economy.
Chief executive Maggie Sandison said: “We will absolutely look for external funding as well as the capital grant that we get.”
A business case is expected to be brought for the SIC members in September.
Read more in Friday’s Shetland Times.