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Info office opens as landslip repair work speeds ahead

PORTKNOCKIE residents keen to keep up to speed with the landslip repair work under way in the village now have a dedicated information point to visit.

Drillers Kyle Robinson (left) and Josh Mundey abseil down one of the landslips off Patrol Road. Picture: Eric Cormack. Image No. 043675
Drillers Kyle Robinson (left) and Josh Mundey abseil down one of the landslips off Patrol Road. Picture: Eric Cormack. Image No. 043675

The former harbour office has been reopened and given a fresh lick of paint by contractors Morrisons to house a rolling update of the work, costing £1.7 million, currently being done and what is due to be done.

At present a temporary access road off Patrol Road wending its way to the back of the harbour has been created while other landslips along Patrol Road, and also off the main access road to the harbour, are in the process of being dealt with.

To combat the landslips engineers will instal 274 five metre long soil nails into the embankment to support netting which will act as an anchor for soil. In order to put these nails in place, drillers are having to abseil down the face of the embankments.

The technique has been used with great success elsewhere in the UK. Moray Council’s senior engineer, Will Burnish, said this was the biggest project of its type the authority had undertaken.

“Without this work, any further slips would mean the loss of part of the road.

"The scope of the project includes stabilising five landslips, improving the drainage to reduce the risk of more landslips, and creating a new road to the harbour to be used when the existing one is temporarily closed to complete the works.”

Rocks which will serve as a foundation are already being laid.

Once this is completed, the project will be finished off with a top layer of soil and grass.

News of the scheme's progress and the opening of the information office was welcomed by local councillors Ron Shepherd, Theresa Coull and Donald Gatt.

Councillor Shepherd said: "“This is a vital piece of work that will provide peace of mind for residents here,” he said.

“£1.7 million is a lot of money in these straitened times, but frankly there was little choice if we were to provide a permanent solution. This information centre will hopefully help to demonstrate what that money is being spent on.”

Councillor Coull commented: "I am delighted that the information centre at the former harbour office in Portknockie has now opened.

"This information office will provide the residents and the public with information about the landslip and the works around it.

"Now that Morrison Construction have started the works after the landslide it will be helpful to everyone that there is a point of contact where they can receive information and get their questions answered. This is a major project for the town and it is so helpful to have an information point where they can be kept informed."

Councillor Gatt added: "I’m glad to see this work under way at long last. Portknockie residents have been worried over the landslips.”

The project is due to run until July, with new drainage also set to be installed.

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