‘Excitement and real progress’ over CHORD works

Barriers dominate Colquhoun Square, but the new paving is starting to appear.
Barriers dominate Colquhoun Square, but the new paving is starting to appear.

The £6.6m CHORD redevelopment of Helensburgh is ‘moving on at pace’, Argyll and Bute Council said this week.

Pre-cast concrete revetment steps have been installed on the seafront,  while work has continued in Colquhoun Square and started in West Princes Street.

Drainage problems in the square are now said to have been resolved – rock was found at shallow depths across the square in January, with heavy machinery being brought in for the noisy task of clearing 80 cubic metres of rock so new drainage can be installed.

Contractors Maclays then began to install the street lighting, festive lighting ducting and draw-pits, passing over the top of the drainage and excavating for new footpath gullies.

In total, the project will see over 5000m of cabling installed, most of which is within the square.

The intention had been to use the existing street lighting during the construction work, however, the shallow depths of cabling meant that some of it was damaged, meaning tower lighting has been installed on a temporary basis until the new lighting is up and running.

The council’s policy lead for special projects, Ellen Morton asked locals to be patient, saying disruption would be kept to a minimum.

“There was much excitement around the town last week, a real buzz as the revetment steps went in. It’s pleasing to see things really taking shape now,” she added.

Encouraged: Ellen Morton
Encouraged: Ellen Morton

‘’I have been encouraged by the positive feedback from local businesses and residents; we are starting to see the finished product taking shape.

‘’It’s taken the contractor some time to get out of the ground in the square but now that foundation work is complete we have already seen some real progress being made.

“The square is starting to take shape and I’m sure we will see things moving on quickly.”

Work on the Sinclair Street car park, which was delayed because of bad weather over new year, is now due to start later this month and be finished in early May.

Another set  of revetments is planned to go onto the seafront this week, providing the tidal conditions are suitable.

Tree pits in Colquhoun Square are now free-draining and drying out ahead of planting, while other work in the square has focused on the southern corner, from the Oxfam shop round to the Post Office, and has seen the finished surfacing going in.

The contractor is working from the outside in, laying the granite paving in front of the shops first before moving on to the carriageway.

New-look granite paving is being fitted
New-look granite paving is being fitted

The bollards and plinths which will support the artwork for the open air museum have also been installed.

In West Princes Street workers are removing stone which is to be re-used as a landscaping feature on the front.

When the project is finally complete, the seafront will see soft landscaping between the esplanade and the road, with putting/miniature golf and mounds for children to play on, as well as stepping stones, formed from  the recycled Caithness stone.

The first phase of the project, which saw roadworks along West Clyde Street, was originally due to be completed in mid-September 2013 but delays meant work dragged on until eight weeks after that.

The second phase was due to be complete in early May, but last month the Helensburgh Advertiser reported that it had been delayed by three weeks,  with completion expected in late May or early June.

Work on the esplanade features will not start until after this phase is complete.

The work has caused some disruption but the council says it has been planned in such a way that people will be able to walk round the square on the new paving while work continues towards the centre.
The work has caused some disruption but the council says it has been planned in such a way that people will be able to walk round the square on the new paving while work continues towards the centre.