Tram works get back on track

Works begin at Haymarket
Works begin at Haymarket
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WORK on Edinburgh’s troubled tram project is set to resume on sites across the city from next week, it emerged today.

Work has already started on Princes Street, with the opening weekend of diversions said to have gone smoothly.

Contractors will be out in force on other parts of the line from next Monday.

The main focus of work will be on the stretch between the proposed stops at Haymarket and Saughton, with diversions around Haymarket Station set to be in place until next spring.

Businesses are now bracing themselves for the impact that the work will have on takings.

Gordon Henderson, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in the east of Scotland, said: “Businesses are going to struggle but, as I’ve said with Princes Street, the works have got to happen and we just want them over with as fast as possible.

“I am hoping that they are flexible and I am hoping to hear from the council soon so that we can do our best in mitigating the effect.”

City chiefs have detailed work that will begin on eight different sites, mostly in the off-street sections.

They say that “every effort will be made to minimise any disruption”.

It is still to be confirmed when work on some sites will resume, such as at Shandwick Place, but further details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Some of the work likely to cause the most disruption will be at Haymarket, with traffic heading into the city being diverted via Magdala Crescent, then along Eglinton Crescent and Palmerston Place, while westbound traffic will continue to go along Haymarket Terrace.

Buses will take a slightly different route into the city, with the diversion taking them along Haymarket Terrace, Rosebery Crescent, Lansdowne Crescent and Grosvenor Street.

Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said: “We have known the tram work is coming since the Scottish Government intervened. It is now a case of having to grin and bear it.

“It will cause disruption but the majority of people have seen this before so it won’t be as alien as before.”

He said that he hoped the council and the construction consortium would ensure the work was completed on time and on budget.

Latest estimates show that the work will cost £776 million and work is now due to be completed by the summer of 2014. The council has had to borrow £231m to complete the job.

A council spokesman said: “The Princes Street traffic diversions which were put in place over the weekend were carried out quickly and efficiently and have so far worked well in maintaining a constant flow of traffic.

“Over the coming weeks, a number of work sites will be rolled out across the tram route, with residents and businesses being kept fully informed.

“The overall impact will be monitored by the joint teams throughout the works.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com