HUNDREDS of jobs and more than 1000 new homes are expected to pour into the city following the completion of the £11 million Niddrie Burn Restoration Project.
The scheme saw 1.8 kilometres of the Niddrie Burn realigned to form a river corridor, with landscaping, footbridges and a flood storage area within parkland.
City leaders believe its completion will provide a boon for the nearby BioQuarter in its bid to become one of the world’s top ten centres for biomedical commerce.
Restoration of the burn and the erection of flood defences will also allow the completion of a 1000-home housing development at Greendykes.
Craigmillar Community Council secretary Terry Tweed said: “Everyone is happy to see the burn spruced up. They’ve basically put right what they did in the 1960s when they encased it in concrete. It has now been opened up and made into a feature of the area.”
Transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Today is an important milestone for this fast-growing part of Edinburgh. The effects of this work will be enormously beneficial to the whole area.
“This complex engineering project – delivered on budget – has created a wealth of opportunities for new homes and development in the BioQuarter.”
The complex engineering project, jointly funded by the city council and Scottish Enterprise, required a number of public utilities to be diverted, including 1km of Scottish Water trunk sewer, 700 metres of water trunk main and 240 metres of Scottish Power cables.
A new £2.75m 1km link road connecting Little France Drive with Greendykes Road, with a 200-metre bus lane for public transport, taxis and emergency vehicles only, enforced by a bus lane camera, has also come into use.
Cllr Hinds added: “The new link road will make it much easier for staff, patients and visitors to travel to and from the Royal Infirmary, and we’re looking forward to seeing a new bus service start operating on this road in the near future.”
Scottish Enterprise life, chemical sciences and company growth director Rhona Allison said: “The BioQuarter is being transformed by its partners into a top global destination for life science research and development, and effective transport provision is key to its success.
“We hope to double the working population at Little France by 2029 which will attract considerable private investment at the BioQuarter.”
The road also incorporates a two-metre footpath and a four-metre combined footpath/ cycleway and street lighting.
Hugh Rutherford, chair of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said: “Development and regeneration is one of the key elements of the economic strategy that Edinburgh City Council and the Edinburgh Business Forum are committed to delivering over the next four years.
“This is a great example of partnership working that is going to have a massive impact on this area of Edinburgh.”