Edinburgh's New Year's resolution should be to call a halt to roadworks - Fiona Duff

The artist’s impression of the revamped George StreetThe artist’s impression of the revamped George Street
The artist’s impression of the revamped George Street
It is almost coming up to that time when we start to think of New Year resolutions. Personally, I can’t be bothered but I have thought of one for City of Edinburgh Council. No more major roadworks.

Since 2008 Edinburgh has been mired by closed road and streets being dug up.

Yes, 14 years ago is when the tram works started and was a fiasco from the start. Costs spiralled out of control, the special group put in charge of dealing with the contractors had little experience and in the end it cost £776m for 14 kilometres of the line, which works out at £55.5m per kilometre. I remember at the time someone telling me that the US sent a rocket to Mars for less cost.

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More importantly the disruption to the city wrecked havoc on many businesses in the West End and Leith Walk – some closed for good and others struggled on making losses.

Currently we still have construction going on in Leith Walk for the tram extension and the West End is again in chaos as pavements being widened, parking spaces being removed and cycle lanes put in place.

I haven’t even bothered to find out what this is costing us paying some of the highest council tax in the UK.

The next project is the plan to make George Street pedestrianised. Lovely idea, originally costed at £36m and already £4m over budget before anyone has even started up their pneumatic drill.

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Does the council really think this is necessary when they might be better building some more schools (look at the disaster of the new Boroughmuir centre of learning which doesn’t have enough space for the local children)? Or perhaps actually filling in the appalling pot holes all around Scotland’s capital, which in some places is like driving up a farm track?

Back to George Street, where established businesses are already planning to move to avoid the disruption.

The artist’s impression of the finished work might look rather lovely, but will there be anything left to visit after two more years of disruption? I don’t suppose that City of Edinburgh Council really cares.

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