Edinburgh's North Bridge: Repair costs rise by another £1.2 million

Warnings of further cost increases
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The cost of repairs to Edinburgh’s North Bridge have risen by another £1.2 million, it has emerged, as the council warned the project’s budget is still set to increase ‘significantly’.

Work to refurbish the bridge which links the Capital’s Old and New towns began in 2018 after “multiple structural and safety defects” were identified. But since then, more issues have been discovered with the historic crossing, as sections not inspected since its construction 130 years ago were found to be in need of major repairs.

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Last year the council approved an additional £25.8m for the increasingly expensive refurbishment, which took the total to £62m – more than double the originally agreed budget. Now it’s been revealed the total cost of the project has risen even further, with a report showing expenditure projections for the North Bridge are £8.3m this financial year, exceeding its allocation by £1.2m. It said, however, that the overall increase in costs “is likely to be significantly more than this”.

Edinburgh’s North Bridge repairs costs have risen by another £1.2 million.Edinburgh’s North Bridge repairs costs have risen by another £1.2 million.
Edinburgh’s North Bridge repairs costs have risen by another £1.2 million.

Council officials will consider the new estimates “as part of the budget proposals being brought forward in February 2023,” the report added.

Quizzing officials at the finance committee today (Thursday), Green group councillor Alys Mumford said: “It references the increase in costs is likely to be significant and that it will be part of the budget proposals. I wondered if there was any more information about what that increase is looking like at this time?”

Hugh Dunn, head of finance for the council, said: “The committee on the 7th of February will get an update on the capital programme and that will make reference to the increase costs that are estimated for North Bridge.”

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Whilst access for pedestrians and northbound traffic has been maintained, the major works have caused significant disruption to the city centre since repairs began. The bridge is currently expected to fully re-open to traffic in June 2025, five years behind schedule.

Work being carried out by construction teams on the North Bridge includes a grit blast and repaint of all structural steelwork, improvements to pavements and underdrainage and installation of ‘structural health monitoring systems’. In addition, they will restore and repair the King’s Own Scottish Borderers War Memorial, located on the east plinth of the bridge’s south pier.

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