FAQs: A quick guide to the tram extension

Councillors are to consider taking the line to Newhaven
Councillors are to consider taking the line to Newhaven
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Work to extend the tramline could be underway by 2019, here’s what you need to know about the proposed move.

Q Will the tram line be extended to Leith?

A It looks increasingly likely. Ultimately, it will depend on the strength of the business case, which will be presented to councillors in an outline form next month, but those working on the project are increasingly confident the sums will add up.

Q Why not make a final decision now?

A The extra time is officially to allow full scrutiny and further work on the business case. However, delaying a final decision until after the tram inquiry reports will have been a factor.

Q What happens next?

A Unless there are any surprises in the outline business case, councillors are likely to agree next month to press ahead with building a full business case and starting the search for potential contractors.

Q If the trams are extended, when will it happen?

A A final decision on building the line – and which contractor should do the job – will not be taken until autumn 2018. If this goes ahead, work would start in mid-2019 and take around three years to complete, with the first paying passengers travelling in the first half of 2022.

Q Where will it go and how much will it cost?

A The tram would go down Leith Walk, past Ocean Terminal to Newhaven, at an estimated cost of £165.2 million, including inflation and a contingency for risk factors.

Q What are the benefits and drawbacks of extending the line?

A Tram extensions in other cities have boosted economic growth, created jobs, improved accessibility and air quality and reduced congestion. Concerns remain over disruption from the construction work, particularly the loss of trade to local businesses, and the potential cost.