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Pledge to hit budget

Work to begin on £207m Edinburgh tram extension

Tram in Constitution Street

Impression of tram in Constitution Street

The first phase of work to extend the Edinburgh tram service to Newhaven will get under way next month.

The Trams to Newhaven project team has worked closely with the two sets of contractors (Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul JV and Morrison Utility Services) to finalise the plans and assess traders’ needs. 

Work will begin in Constitution Street in mid-November. Passenger services are timetabled from Spring 2023 and the council remains confident that the budget of £207.3m is “achievable”.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “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

– Lesley Macinnes

“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.”

The council said residents and businesses will be kept 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 issued early in the New Year.

Work will begin in two sections of Constitution Street from Monday 18 November: Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane and North junction of Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place.

Traffic management will start on 15 November. Throughout this period, access will be maintained from Laurie Street into Kirkgate and from Mitchell Street into Maritime Lane.

A logistics hub to support Constitution Street businesses will be set up on Mitchell Street so that they can receive and despatch deliveries during the construction works. Help will also be at hand via the logistics hub for residents expecting large deliveries such as appliances or furniture. 

new tram route

Extension from Picardy Place (replacement for York Place)

Communications will continue with residents and businesses on Constitution Street over the course of the next few weeks to explain arrangements during construction, including waste, buses, loading and parking provision.

Enabling works are also scheduled to get under way on Leith Walk next month to prepare the access lane for traffic ahead of the main construction work, which begins in spring 2020. 

This will involve the removal of parking and loading bays on Leith Walk on the city bound side of the road. During these works, traffic will continue to flow in both directions and bus stops and will be maintained on the street although they may need to be moved a short distance. Bus timetables will remain as they are.

The full construction programme is:

Picardy Place to York PlaceWinter 2021/22 – Summer 2022
Picardy Place to London RoadSpring 2021 – Spring 2022
London Road to Manderston StreetEnabling works Autumn 2019 (18 Nov) to Spring 2020, main works Spring 2020 – Autumn 2021
Manderston Street to Foot of the WalkAutumn 2021 – Summer 2022
Foot of the Walk to Coatfield LaneAutumn 2019 (15 Nov) – Spring 2021
Coatfield Lane to Queen Charlotte StreetSpring 2021 – Spring 2022
Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution PlaceAutumn 2019 (15 Nov) – Autumn 2020
Constitution Place to Tower PlaceAutumn 2021 – Summer 2022
Tower Place to Rennie’s IsleSpring 2021 – Autumn 2021
Rennie’s Isle to Ocean TerminalSummer 2020 – Spring 2021
Ocean DriveSpring 2020 – Autumn 2020
Ocean Drive to Melrose DriveSummer 2021 – Autumn 2021
Melrose DriveAutumn 2021 – Spring 2022
Melrose Drive to NewhavenSpring 2020 – Summer 2021

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