Edinburgh Trams extension work to start in earnest in November

Since approval was given to the Edinburgh Trams extension project to Newhaven earlier this year there has plenty going on in preparation for the full construction programme to begin and it has now been confirmed that works will begin on Constitution Street in mid-November. At the same it has been confirmed that the project budget of £207.3m remains achievable.

The Trams to Newhaven project team have been working alongside the Infrastructure & Systems Contractor (Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul JV) and Swept Path Contractor (Morrison Utility Services) to finalise construction plans which has included preparation works to check conditions along the route as well as dialogue with residents and conducting a comprehensive survey of traders needs.

This work has now determined that in the week commencing 18th November construction will start in two locations of Constitution Street from Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane and from north junction of Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place. Traffic management will be put into place from 15th November which will maintain access from Laurie Street into Kirkgate and from Mitchell Street into Maritime Lane.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, said: “The past six months have been invaluable in allowing the project team to work hand in hand with our contractors to put the designs and construction programme through their paces so that we’re in the best possible position to get started next month. Now that we’ve finalised the plans, we’re pressing ahead with getting everything ready to begin the first phase of work in Constitution Street alongside enabling works on Leith Walk. Given Leith is one of Scotland’s richest sites for urban archaeology, particularly Constitution Street, it’s key that we allow ample time for this aspect of work to get under way. Throughout this whole process, we’ve taken a robust, prudent, open and transparent approach, keeping residents and businesses fully informed at every stage and incorporating their feedback directly into the plans so that they are truly community-based. The project’s independent adviser praised our plans as the most closely scrutinised he had ever come across in decades of work in the light rail industry, while community council leaders welcomed our work to involve and engage with communities along the route. We’re hugely grateful to everyone for their contributions.

Communications will continue with residents and businesses in the area over the course of the next few weeks to explain arrangements during the construction (waste, buses, loading and parking provision amongst others). A logistics hub will be set up on Mitchell Street to support businesses so they can receive and despatch deliveries during the construction period.

Although full details of the overall Support for Business scheme will not be communicated until early 2020 there will be measures in place for businesses when the works commence. This will include access to free business improvement courses, an open for business campaign and on-street customer service.

Cllr Cammy Day, Depute Council Leader, commented: “This thorough, collaborative and open approach is exactly how we mean to go on, striving to keep disruption to a minimum and helping maintain the vibrancy and attractiveness of the area as place to live, visit and shop. We’ll be keeping residents and businesses in the loop at every stage of construction, with information provided to those in Constitution Street in the next few weeks on arrangements for waste, buses, loading and parking provision. Full details of a £2.4m Support for Business package will be communicated early in the New Year. Taking trams to Newhaven is going to be transformative for Leith, north Edinburgh and the whole of our fast-growing city, opening up new economic, social, housing and development opportunities and connecting thousands more people sustainably to major centres of employment, without putting pressure on existing Council budgets.”

At the same time enabling works will commence on Leith Walk to prepare the access lane for traffic ahead of the main construction work. This will see the removal of parking and loading bays on the city bound side of the road.

The full construction programme of the project is announced as follows:

Picardy Place to York Place – Winter 2021/22 to Summer 2022

Picardy Place to London Road – Spring 2021 to Spring 2022

London Road to Manderston Street – Enabling works Autumn 2019 (18th November) to Spring 2020, main works Spring 2020 to Autumn 2021

Manderston Street to Foot of the Walk – Autumn 2021 to Summer 2022

Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane – Autumn 2019 (15th November) to Spring 2021

Coatfield Lane to Queen Charlotte Street – Spring 2021 to Spring 2022

Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place – Autumn 2019 (15th November) to Autumn 2020

Constitution Place to Tower Place – Autumn 2021 to Summer 2022

Tower Place to Rennie’s Isle – Spring 2021 to Autumn 2021

Rennie’s Isle to Ocean Terminal – Summer 2020 to Spring 2021

Ocean Drive – Spring 2020 to Autumn 2020

Ocean Drive to Melrose Drive – Spring 2021 to Autumn 2021

Melrose Drive – Autumn 2021 to Spring 2022

Melrose Drive to Newhaven – Spring 2020 to Summer 2021

With the construction to go on for nearly three years to Summer 2022 it remains the plan that trams will start to run in Spring 2023 after an extensive period of commissioning and testing.

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