Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Under the sea to Skye

You cannot fault the people of the Outer Hebrides for ambition. The Independent reports:
Violent storms this winter which disrupted ferries to the Western Isles, and fears that climate change will make the situation worse, have inspired a campaign to build a road tunnel between the Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland.

Local councillors, business leaders and residents are proposing an undersea link, which would be the longest road tunnel in the world. The Channel Tunnel, which opened in 1994, is 31 miles long, with just 23 miles under the sea, while the Western Isles road tunnel would be 41 miles long and almost entirely beneath the waves.

The project's supporters are considering two alternatives. The first is a 25-mile crossing from Benbecula to the northern tip of Skye, which already has a bridge to the mainland. The second is a 41-mile link between Stornoway on Lewis to Ullapool, Wester Ross. Either option would cost considerably more than the £10bn it took to build the Channel Tunnel.
This seems a good place to add today's Pleasing Trivial Fact. As this story confirms, Donald Trump's mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, grew up on the Isle of Lewis and her first language was Gaelic.

2 comments:

ADB said...

The Independent is crassly inaccurate. The tunnels which were proposed to run to the Western Isles would be either from Dunvegan (Skye) to North Uist, or from the Trotternish Peninsula (Skye) to Rodel, Harris. A tunnel to Ullapool has NEVER been mentioned.
Oh, I live in Stornoway

John Kirriemuir said...

Actually NO tunnel routes have been proposed at all, be they from Stornoway (which would be a daft place, as it would be a longer "tunnel to nowhere") or anywhere else. The Independent, Mail and ADB are all wrong.

I live on Berneray, which would be *likely* to be in the region of any tunnel as the shortest points between the Hebrides and mainland are in NE North Uist and SE Harris. It's feasible - the Norwegians can do it - and, if they did it, surprisingly cheap:

http://www.silversprite.com/?p=238

However, I fear that the bureaucrats here would try and fund it under a PPP scheme, then mess up the tendering process, then be held hostage to dodgy contracts, and instead of costing 115 million if the Norwegians did it, the cost would indeed run into billions.