Monday 1st June will see preparation works for the restart of construction on the Trams to Newhaven project get underway – all in line with the Scottish Government’s Phase 1 pre-start site preparations. Work has been suspended since the end of March but this will be the first step to the resumption of full construction works in the coming weeks and months.
Plans have been drawn up in line with Scottish Government safety guidelines and industry best practice to ensure the safety of workers and the public. This follows confirmation on 28th May by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, at her regular briefings that this would be possible.
Cllr Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council Leader, said: “Following updated advice from the Scottish Government, we will be carrying out site preparatory works on the Trams to Newhaven project from Monday 1st June. The safety of workers and the public is of utmost importance during this time and all works will be undertaken in compliance with the Government’s guidance on construction working and to allow physical distancing. The tram team have put in an enormous amount of hard work with our contractors to take us through this challenging period and it will take some time to fully remobilise sites. The implications of COVID-19 are unlikely to be understood for some time but we continue to work to mitigate the impact as we progress with the project.”
The works which will take place from the start of June will include the introduction of infection control stations, additional water stations and toilet facilities for workers within the site and in the project office and ensuring all office workspaces and facilities are set up appropriately. Other works due to take place will include the removal of the protective in-fill material used to ensure the worksite remained safe and protected during the shutdown.
There will be measures to protect workers health including daily briefings, continuous on site inspections and health and safety ambassadors. The numbers of workers on site will also be kept to a minimum and the majority of project office staff will still be working from home.
Alejandro Mendoza Monfort, Director of the main infrastructure contractor, Sacyr Farrans Neopul, commented: “SFN are delighted that we can restart our works on the Trams to Newhaven project. We understand the importance that this project will have for Edinburgh’s future and are committed to ensuring that we continue to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus 19. During this pause period, concentrated efforts have continued behind the scenes to develop and test a series of robust systems and procedures, whilst ensuring the highest level of health, safety and wellbeing can be provided. We have used this time to adapt to our new working world and developed new operating procedures that provide information, guidance and site-specific measures that will be implemented when conducting works to mitigate the impact, so far as reasonably practicable, of the virus.”
At this stage permission has not yet been given to resume full construction works again with this being part of Phase 2 in Scotland. These guidelines state that Phase 2 will allow “soft start to site works (only where physical distancing can be maintained)”.
This latest update has also reported that the project remains within its set £207.3 million budget and that the project team continue to work on plans to mitigate any impact on the shutdown on both the budget and the works programme.