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Road reopens as tram work hits key milestone

Pilrig Street to Annandale Street stretch showing latest stage of work

Progress on Edinburgh’s Tram extension will see a stretch of Leith Walk reopen to two-way traffic from next Monday (18 July), marking a key milestone for the £207.3m project.

Traffic will return to near normal between Pilrig Street and London Road while fencing will be removed from business premises and homes between Montgomery Street/Annandale Street and Pilrig Street.

The project remains on schedule for completion by spring 2023 and within budget, with all major construction anticipated to be complete by the end of 2022 ahead of a testing and commissioning period.

However, the programme for some specific sections of the route has changed due to industry wide challenges with the availability of materials and skilled labour, as well as other issues including complex utility conflicts.

As a result, some stretches are scheduled to take longer than originally planned, including Melrose Drive and outside Ocean Terminal. Full details of the updated programme are available on the Trams to Newhaven website.

Progress to date includes:

• Almost 3,900 metres of track laid, 84% of the total
• Main construction works completed on three out of the eight new tram stops with works progressing well at the Balfour Street, Foot of the Walk and Newhaven stops
• 4,000 metres of communications ducting installed (87% of the total) serving the tram and future communication requirements in the area
• 4,000 metres of drainage installed (89% of the total)
• 60,000 deliveries from the logistic hubs to local businesses
• 24,500 itison vouchers sold, generating over £240,000 potential spend in participating businesses on the route.
• £175,000 spent on open for business campaigns
• Main construction works complete on several sections, including Ocean Terminal to Rennie’s Isle and between Tower Street and Constitution Place and Tower Street and Baltic Street

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “It’s great news that this key section of Leith Walk will soon reopen and will start its transition to becoming a vibrant multi-modal transport corridor.

“Not only does it mark a major milestone for the Trams to Newhaven project but I’m sure it will be most welcome to businesses and residents along this part of the route. I’d like to thank all those living and working nearby for their patience throughout the programme of work.

Steve Jackson, project director, Turner & Townsend, said: “We have experienced numerous challenges, as well as industry wide issues, however collaborative working has played a key role to ensure that we have remained on track throughout the life cycle of the project.”

As part of the changes, there is no waiting or stopping between Pilrig Street and Annandale Street, though there is designated loading and parking provision on both the east and west side of Leith Walk. Logistics hubs to support businesses on Albert Street and Montgomery Street with deliveries and dispatches will also remain on this section of Leith Walk.

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