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New double-track road proposed from Sandwater to Kergord

March 22nd 2019

Viking Energy has applied to build a new Sandwater road next year, close to the existing one. The road would initially be used for construction traffic while the wind farm is being built, helping minimise disruption to other road users. Once the wind farm is completed, the surface would be brought up to public road standard and opened.

The planning application to double-track the B9075 was submitted to Shetland Islands Council (SIC) on 18th March. The multi-million pound road will run for 2.26km from the A970 at Sandwater to the junction with Upper Kergord, where a new 2km access track is proposed to be laid to the site of SSEN’s High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter station.

The improved surface at Sandwater will have the strength and gentle gradient required to transport abnormally long and heavy loads, including electricity transformers, turbine nacelles and rotor blades.

The design has been produced in consultation with the SIC roads service. It entails an all-new road in preference to a previous plan which envisaged upgrading stretches of the existing road and adding in a section of new carriageway.

As well as keeping wind farm traffic separate from other road users, the new design will move construction activities further away from the designated site of special scientific interest at Sandwater Loch.

Once the wind farm is operational in 2023 or 2024 most of the old Sandwater road would be removed or reinstated, leaving a section near the loch for recreational use.

Subject to the planning application being approved by the SIC, construction work could begin as early as the end of this year before full construction gets under way in 2020. When the wind farm is operational the new road will be handed over to the council.

Viking Energy applied in 2018 to build a new Kergord access track with a decision expected from the SIC in the next few months.