The port of Troon is to be prepared to welcome the Arran ferry with work set to begin on installing berthing fenders later this month.

The port is to be used as the mainland crossing point for those travelling to the Isle of Arran during the construction phase of the Ardrossan Harbour redevelopment project, which could take up to 21 months.

Agreement has also been reached to use Troon as an alternate port of refuge to Gourock, allowing more sailings per day than the longer diversion.

Associated British Ports has awarded a contract, worth around £3m, to George Leslie for the port works, through grant funding provided by Transport Scotland.

Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: “We know how important these ferry links are to the communities of Arran and Campbeltown, so it’s vital that we help Troon Harbour prepare for its role as a temporary port of refuge during periods of disruption.

“The award of this contract, through grant funding from Transport Scotland, is also another step forward for the Ardrossan Harbour redevelopment project as a whole.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to providing robust and resilient ferry services from Ardrossan to Arran and Campbeltown, and I look forward to seeing the work continuing to progress in the future.”

Stuart Cresswell, ABP Port Manager at Troon said: “We are delighted that the Port of Troon is able to support both the Scottish Government and the Arran and Campbeltown communities by hosting the ferry on a temporary basis during both the planned upgrade of Ardrossan and in the longer term for backup resilience.

“Works to install additional fendering on Troon’s East pier ferry berth will be starting very soon and we are pleased that, following a comprehensive tendering process, the contract for this work has been awarded to a locally based Scottish company.”