After a few weeks of staring down at a giant, sandy hole, it’s great to see the road back in place in front of the visitor centre at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven. The B9097 has been diverted around the underpass works since early in the project, which was the only way to prevent the road being closed altogether. But with the road back, and the hole finally looking like an underpass, it won’t be long until the traffic restrictions can be removed. For health and safety reasons, they do need to stay in place for just a little bit longer to help protect workers on site. But thank you for your patience if you’ve been stuck sitting at the lights this summer.

Pretty much all the heavy construction work of the actual tunnel is now complete, though the diversion will remain in place on the Heritage Trail until everything is finished up. The focus now has turned to the access points, and the all-important landscaping to create new paths.

 

One thing that’s just gone in as part of this work are the new steps, which go directly from the visitor’s centre to the underpass. In the old tunnel, the steps were the only option, so it’s nice to see them there only as a small part of the whole design. 

 

We’ve also got a big order in for trees and seeds, so that we can bring nature back to this area once the work is done. As we said in the last blog, the plan is to plant ivy in the reinforced wall for the path. But we also plan to put in as many native trees as possible, as well as sowing the area with grass and wildflowers.

All this work will be completed on schedule by mid-September, but unfortunately, we do have an issue on the other side of the road, which means we won’t be able to open the underpass to the public immediately.

 

In order to complete work on north side of the underpass we need to divert the water mains pipe. The plan had been to move the pipe in the summer when the other work was taking place. However, due to the lack of rainfall and high temperatures back in May and June, there’s a lack of water in the system. For this reason, Scottish Water are restricting works on this mains pipe to essential maintenance only and we need to wait until this restriction is lifted to complete the work. We hope this will be some time in October.

 

We are still expecting to be able to open the underpass in November, a bit later than planned, but still in good time for the winter influx of migrating birds that bring so many visitors to the area.  

 

If you’d like to donate towards the underpass project, you can do so at the RSPB Scotland Loch Leven visitor centre.

 

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