As work on the new accessible underpass at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven picks up pace, here’s an update on what’s been happening.

Construction work started on our new underpass back in May, and it’s been amazing to watch all the changes taking place each week. The bulk of the work is going on right outside our visitor centre, with a great view down into the site from the café window, so it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening. The dry weather seems to be helping so far, and with only one or two delays, the work is still on track for completion in late September.

The three main construction areas are the underpass itself, the area to the south of the road which will become the sloping access to the new tunnel, and a field to the west of our car park, where it’s starting to look a little like we’re building our own pyramid. This is just sandy spoil from the site, with almost 2000 cubic metres of earth moved so far. It’s only temporary, though, and will be taken away once work is nearing completion.

As for the underpass itself, the safest way to construct it was to divert the existing road, and anyone who uses the B9097 will have experienced the traffic control which has been in place for the last few weeks. This has been working well, and hopefully hasn’t been causing too many delays, but thank you for your patience while it’s in operation. The road will be restored to its former glory as soon as possible.

But while it’s away, the construction crew have been hard at work digging out and preparing the area for the new underpass. They did hit a small snag when they came across two pipes that weren’t on any official plans, but they turned out to be defunct, so could be safely removed.

In the last week, work began to install the concrete sections of the new tunnel using a massive crane, one of only three its size in Scotland! It’s so big, the Loch Leven Heritage Trail had to be diverted to make room for it, but each section it’s lifting in weighs almost 14 tonnes, so you can easily see why it has to be so huge.

With all the landscaping that’s going on, you can also start to see the sloping path taking shape, which will eventually be at a gentle gradient all the way down to the new tunnel, creating access for everyone.

Finally, we just wanted to say a really big thank you to everyone who contributed to our crowdfunder campaign! All the money raised will go towards the construction of the new underpass, which we hope will make a big difference to so many people once it’s complete. If you’d like to support the project, you can still do so by talking to a member of staff at the reserve. Either pop in to see us, or give us a call.

We’ll be putting out more updates in the next few weeks, but if you’d like more information, just get in touch.