Sparks fly as new paving is dug up again

Newly laid granite paving in Helensburgh had to be dug up this week after electrical problems linked to the controversial CHORD project.

Originally due to be finished in mid-September, the work on West Clyde Street by contractors MacLays is now scheduled to be complete next Friday (November 8).

But with large parts of the road still looking far from complete, the news that Scottish Power had to remove the new paving makes even that revised deadline look unlikely.

Is the end in sight for the work on West Clyde Street?
Is the end in sight for the work on West Clyde Street?

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council, which is behind the £6.6m project for the town centre, confirmed today: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the utility company had to carry out works in the area, including digging in the footpath area.

“Council staff are liaising closely with the company to ensure that everything is reinstated to the appropriate standard.”

Traders on West Clyde Street were furious when it was announced that the work would be carried out during the summer which is their busiest period, and Margaret MacGillivray who runs a long-established jewellery and gift shop, said the Helensburgh CHORD works seemed to have been ‘rushed through’, with only a month between the contract being awarded and the start of work on May 7.

“When we see the ad-hoc design changes taking place and the on-street arguments between various officials, it would seem that the planning of the project was inadequate,” she said.

“Has this haste cost the ratepayers extra money and who is really keeping a close eye on the budget?”

She said traders were also concerned about how the esplanade would fare in a  severe storm – the reason given for work being carried out in summer was so that it would be completed before the winter weather struck.

“In its current condition, we believe that it’s just waiting to be washed away,” she said.

“When I last checked, there were still two massive holes in the ‘sea wall’ waiting for steps to the beach to be installed.

“We would love to have the esplanade fully finished in time for the Commonwealth Games.  We had hoped that the majority of the works would be completed by then.”

The revised schedule for the work, announced by the council on October 9,  had a completion date of November 8 for the Phase 1a works on West Clyde Street and  November 21 for Colquhoun Street South.

The Phase 1b Esplanade works are still due for completion in July 2014 as originally programmed.

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