Edinburgh roads: Work to transform Lothian Road into a boulevard will not start until 2028

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Council officials announced the Edinburgh city centre works will begin in five years time

Major safety improvements to one of Edinburgh’s most dangerous junctions will not begin until 2028, council officials have said.

The work to transform Lothian Road into a ‘boulevard’ will see widened pavements, segregated cycle lanes and major safety improvements at the Tollcross crossroads, which was identified as the city’s second most dangerous junction.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A new report into the plans – first put forward in 2019 – and said the work was now estimated to begin in five years time. And it could also mean the iconic Tollcross clock which was removed for repairs last year may not return to the area until work is completed – although the council is now exploring options to reinstate it on an interim basis.

Designs for proposed Lothian Road Boulevard. Image: City of Edinburgh Council.Designs for proposed Lothian Road Boulevard. Image: City of Edinburgh Council.
Designs for proposed Lothian Road Boulevard. Image: City of Edinburgh Council.

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said it was “a little bit depressing” to learn it would be another five years before work would begin, pointing out that would be 11 years after the death of cyclist Zhi Min Soh at the top of Lothian Road. And he suggested “short term” work to improve safety in the area should be explored.

Plans for a tree-lined ‘boulevard’ on Lothian Road emerged in 2019 as Edinburgh Council’s City £314m Centre Transformation was unveiled.

A report to next week’s Transport and Environment Committee said: “The project area includes the full extent of Tollcross Junction and, subject to continued funding and approvals, construction is estimated to start in summer 2028.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After two unsuccessful funding bids for the £60,000 needed to restore the clock, the cash is now likely to come from the council’s common good fund, the report said.

However whether it will return to Tollcross prior to completion of the junction’s rationalisation – which under the latest timescale estimate is unlikely to be before the end of the decade – remains up in the air.

The council said discussions with “key stakeholders” including Tollcross Primary would begin in November 2023 to consider the options, which could include temporarily reinstating the clock at a different location at the crossroads.

The report said: “All siting options for the clock’s reinstatement will be assessed against the ability to enable safe access and maintenance in situ.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Funding will continue to be sought for the repair…in addition to costs associated with its potential interim reinstatement subject to the outcome of the forthcoming engagement and further committee consideration.”

The talks later in the year will also look at options for “short-term temporary measures for improving pedestrian, cycle and public transport provision of Tollcross Junction”.

Cllr Arthur said: “I think the question might be if we’re going to do interim things around a clock should we not make interim changes as well around the safety of pedestrians from the route from basically the King’s Theatre right the way up to the edge of Princes Street.”