Abandoned tram route road repairs will cost city £3.4m

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COUNCIL chiefs are to spend up to £3.4 million to fix temporary road repairs along the abandoned tram route from the city centre to Leith.

The work is expected to include possible reinstatement of the central reservation down Leith Walk, work on the roundabout at London Road and resurfacing of Constitution Street.

The bill will be met by “re-prioritising” the council’s capital roads maintenance programme.

The move follows last month’s decision by the city council to complete the tram line from the airport as far as St Andrew Square, but leave the rest of the route to Leith to be built at some unspecified time in the future.

The report presented to councillors on the options for the trams project warned: “One consequence of building Line 1a in phases, with the first phase terminating at St Andrew Square/York Place, is that temporary road and pavement reinstatement works, carried out in the section of Line 1a from Picardy Place to Newhaven, notably in areas such as Constitution Street, Leith will need to be properly rectified.

“The temporary repairs were only designed to last for the duration of the Traffic Regulation Orders, put in place for the tram works.”

It said the building delays meant work would need to be done to repair temporary reinstatements, and address specific defects and drainage repairs arising from the utility diversion works, as well as removing and replacing temporary traffic management measures.

A council spokeswoman said officials were assessing what work needed to be done.

Labour transport spokeswoman Lesley Hinds said: “Leith has had all this disruption and it looks as if they are not going to get a tram for a number of years.

“You can’t just leave that whole area in a mess. We need to encourage people to visit for the shops and businesses and ensure the people who live there are not left with a building site.”

But she said she would be asking questions about the estimated costs of reinstatement and who should pay.

“Who made the temporary repairs and should they have put it back properly? And if we have to pay for it out of the road maintenance budget, what effect will it have on other areas?”

Tory group leader Jeremy Balfour said repairs had to be done, but he said it was “surprising” the estimated cost was as much as £3.4m.

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said: “This is a clear indication no-one expects this ‘incremental’ to get trams to Newhaven any time soon.”

He said there was always some slippage in the budget concerned.

“It’s work that has to be done and there is no other way.

“It’s an unfortunate consequence of the tram lobby not having enough money.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com

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