MOTORISTS will face ten weeks of traffic disruption on a main route into the city as a major gas works project is carried out.
Engineers from Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) will begin the £200,000 works to replace ageing pipes along Queensferry Road on Monday.
The first rush hour of the week is expected to be especially busy, with many motorists caught unawares despite an extensive road signage campaign.
One taxi boss – worried about the effect this will have on business – said: “There is no doubt there will be huge disruption.”
The works start at the Park Grove Road junction, continuing westwards along Queensferry Road to Maybury Road, with this phase ending at the junction of Maybury Road with Cammo Gardens.
Westbound traffic will be restricted to one lane instead of the usual two lanes.
In the latter stages of the project, gas engineers will move to the opposite side of Queensferry Road – restricting eastbound traffic to one lane. During this phase, access to Drumbrae North will be closed. The work is being carried out to replace old iron pipes with new polyethylene models, according to Ofgem.
The taxi trade has warned the project will create a “bottleneck” and that the work would possibly have been better carried out in the summer months when schools are closed.
Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said: “A number of drivers have stated that they will be avoiding the area completely during the works. This results in traffic just being pushed elsewhere on to secondary roads.
“Queensferry is a main arterial route which is busy enough at the best of times as it is one the main routes to Fife and there are thousands of drivers commuting every day. It’ll be a nightmare. They really should have waited for a quieter period like during the school holidays.”
Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) has liaised closely with the city council, police, Lothian Buses and First Bus ahead of the works but has warned that tailbacks and disruption will be a “possibility”.
Workmen from contractor May Gurney will be working seven days a week in a bid to ensure the project is completed as quickly as possible.
SGN is advising people to start their journeys earlier than usual or find alternative routes as there are likely to be delays, particularly during morning and evening peak times. SGN team manager Dougie Brown said: “We understand that people can get frustrated by road works. However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum life-span of 80 years. This means that when the work is complete, people in the local area will continue to enjoy the benefits of a safe and reliable gas supply for years to come.
“We will be doing everything we can to complete this project as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Electronic signage has been set to notify commuters of the works and local diversions will be in operation during the closure.