Leaders: ‘What damage might be done over months?’

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ACCOMMODATING 21st century levels of traffic on 18th century streets that were not built for the job is never going to be easy.

The problem is both one of the curses and blessings of living in a beautiful and historic city like 
Edinburgh.

So it is perhaps no surprise that Albany Street is suffering under the pounding it is taking from thousands of extra vehicles rumbling over it each day.

The situation is far from ideal – but what alternative does the city have?

Given that it now makes sense for the tram works to be completed, there are precious few options for the essential traffic diversions through the New Town.

The temporary reopening of Princes Street to relieve some of the pressure, which the council is sensibly considering, is one of them.

Nevertheless, while the damage might not be surprising it is certainly worrying.

It is essential that engineers 
urgently determine the impact that the huge increase in traffic in Albany Street is likely to be having on underground pipes and neighbouring buildings.

If potholes are opening up on the road surface after little more than a week, what damage might be done over several months which we cannot immediately see?

This is just one example of how the council needs to take an active, hands-on approach to managing the tram works.

Ordering urgent work rather than letting Albany Street fall into greater disrepair and examining the idea of reopening Princes Street are evidence that the new administration is willing to take on that role.

This kind of ongoing management will have as much, if not more, bearing on the success of this latest phase of the project as the strength of the original plans.

Messages of love

Today we report on the latest stage of the revamp of the St Columba’s Hospice and the touching messages which families and staff have left to be included in a time capsule in the grounds.

It is an illustration, as if one was needed, that this is not a project which is just about bricks and 
mortar and creating a top-class new facility.

The success of St Columba’s has been built as much on the compassion and dedication of the people who work there. As ambassador Una McLean puts it today, it is not a place where people go to die, “it is where they go to live”.