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Toll tunnel could link Shetland Isles

Shetland Island Council is considering using tolls to fund a £34M tunnel between Shetland mainland and the Isle of Bressay.

Transport director Michael Craigie told NCE that the council would consider all funding streams, including tolls.

The Scottish Executive only supports private financing of infrastructure schemes if they follow a not for profit model, as is being used for the £230M Borders Railway. But it says local authorities can choose their own funding strategies for roads projects under their juristiction.

Shetland Island Council wants to build a 1.2km tunnel beneath the Bressay Sound. The 10m internal diameter link will replace previous plans for a bridge, opposed by Lerwick Port Authority in 2005.

“Since this process began there have been technical developments that make us more confident in tunnel technology.”

Michael Craigie

“Obtaining consents for a bridge was complex and there was tension between the various parties. But since this process began there have been technical developments that make us more confident in tunnel technology,” said Craigie.

“[The construction method] uses highly mechanised drill and blast with advance grouting under the Sound which is approximately 350m wide,” said Andrew Sloan of project technical adviser Donaldson Associates. “There is a lot of experience of this type of low cost tunnelling in other parts of Europe,” he said.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The Island of Bressay has a population of less than 400 souls. I'm interested in how this tunnel will generate enough revenue to justify the £34m price tag. The simple truth is it wont.

    Even if you add on potential tourist revenue it just seems unfeasible. In any case surely tourist would prefer the romance of a ferry ride.

    If this scheme goes ahead it will have to be heavily subsidised by either Edinburgh, London, or Brussels. It seems unfair to ask the already over stretched tax pays of those cities, which have real transport issues of their own, to cough up cash for a scheme to benefit fewer than 400 islanders.

    In my opinion if you are lucky enough to live in a remote part of the world and you really desire to be better connected, try moving house.

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