MORE than two years of work to upgrade a munitions depot on the east shore of Loch Long has been completed.

The Northern Ammunition Jetty at Glen Mallan was last refurbished in the 1970s and the recent work will extend the life of the site by a further 50 years, as well as making it suitable for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

A £67million contract was awarded by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to VolkerStevin in 2019, while a further £20m was spent throughout the project with local suppliers and small and medium enterprises in Scotland.

Craig MacDonald, DIO project manager, said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth visited part way through the work, back in March 2021, in preparation for her first operational deployment.

“This was not originally planned but became necessary when the scale of the ship’s deployment increased, presenting the team with a challenge to make the jetty operational in time for her arrival.

“Everyone involved, from DIO, VolkerStevin, Jacobs and the various subcontractors, worked closely together to enable HMS Queen Elizabeth to berth at the unfinished jetty, which she did successfully.

Helensburgh Advertiser: HMS Queen Elizabeth visited the jetty for the first time in March 2021 (Photo: MoD)HMS Queen Elizabeth visited the jetty for the first time in March 2021 (Photo: MoD)

“This was a large and complicated project, as you might imagine from something built in the water.

“Professionally it’s been very satisfying to work on such an important project and it’s great to see this vital facility now in full operation.”

The previous jetty was demolished and replaced with a new jetty structure, 135 metres long, requiring 127 steel piles to be driven into the loch bed to support a reinforced concrete deck.

The upgrade also included the installation of navigation aids and five mooring dolphins which are connected to the jetty by a pedestrian access bridge.

In addition, the project included the installation of two modern pedestal cranes and the jetty can now be used by the entire Royal Navy surface fleet to load and unload ammunition.

The project team won ‘Best Infrastructure Project’ at the Scottish Civil Engineering Awards 2021 and was also recognised in the ‘Upgrade and Renewal Project’ category at last year’s British Construction Industry Awards.

They were also finalists in Construction News Awards 2021 for ‘Best Large Project over £50 million’.

The Glen Mallan project is the third and final jetty refurbishment to support the nationally critical £7billion Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier programme.