Ammunition loading jetty for Royal Navy’s surface fleet completed
The third and final jetty refurbishment to support the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers has been handed over to its operators.
The Northern Ammunition Jetty at Glen Mallan on the shores of Loch Long in Scotland was refurbished by VolkerStevin under a £67m contract awarded by Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
Work began on the revamp in 2019 and the jetty will be used to load and unload ammunition for the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, from nearby Defence Munitions Glen Douglas.
The jetty, which will be operated by Defence Equipment and Support, was last upgraded in the 1970s and had reached the end of its economic life. The upgrade work has not only extended the life of the jetty by an estimated 50 years, but has also made the site accessible for the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
HMS Queen Elizabeth visited part way through the work, in March 2021, in preparation for her first operational deployment.
The previous jetty was demolished and replaced with a new 135m long jetty structure, requiring 127 steel piles to be driven into the loch bed to support a reinforced concrete deck.
The works also included the installation of navigation aids and five mooring dolphins which are connected to the jetty by a pedestrian access bridge. Two modular fender spacer units have been placed in front of the new fender panels and move with the tide to prevent the overhanging flight decks of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales from colliding with the jetty.
In addition, the project included the installation of two modern pedestal cranes to load and unload ammunition and the construction of buildings for offices, power generation and stores. The perimeter fencing and CCTV system have also been upgraded.
Craig MacDonald, DIO's project manager said: “It’s been such a pleasure to work on such a nationally-important and dynamic project.
"The project has faced numerous challenges, but they have been overcome with good teamwork, communication and collaboration. It’s great to see this vitally important facility now in full operation.”
Workers used capture blankets to prevent material from entering Loch Long when the old jetty was demolished and all waste was removed by barge to recycling sites on the Clyde.
To avoid the need to lay new electric cables through the water, the new navigation aids are solar powered.
There were concerns about the possible impact of noisy piling works on marine mammals, so two observers used underwater listening devices, along with visual inspections, to make sure no marine mammals were in the area before work began. If any were located, work was stopped to give them time to move away.
The team have been recognised at three construction industry awards for their work. They won ‘Best Infrastructure Project’ at the Scottish Civil Engineering Awards 2021 and for ‘Upgrade and Renewal Project’ at the British Construction Industry Awards 2021. They were also finalists in Construction News Awards 2021 for ‘Best Large Project over £50 million’.