A ROAD leading off Edinburgh’s busiest junction will be shut for six months – to allow vital work on Borders Railway line to progress.
A section of the A6106 – the main road into Millerhill on the city’s outskirts – will be closed from where it connects to the heavily congested Sheriffhall junction to the Old Craighall Road roundabout.
The closure, expected to be enforced later this month, will allow the road to be relaid so it bends around the 35-mile line linking Edinburgh Waverley to the Borders.
The works are sure to further clog up a junction drivers have previously voted Scotland’s worst as the section, also known as Millerhill Road, will be closed until at least July to carry out the realignment.
Engineers started an investigation in July into whether a flyover or underpass would be suitable for the pinch point, near Dalkeith, which is plagued by rush-hour tailbacks.
Contractors are also building a new road close to Newton Village that will connect Old Dalkeith Road to the park-and-ride facility at Shawfair train station.
Shawfair is one of seven new stations being built along the £350 million rail link. The site six miles from Edinburgh Waverley will eventually become the heart of a new town centre with a capacity of 4000 homes.
Dalkeith ward councillor Alex Bennett welcomed the redevelopment, saying it would improve road conditions for local residents. He said: “The new road that comes out of the park and ride will take the traffic out of Danderhall, which has long been used as a rat run to avoid Sheriffhall.”
The closures have been announced as rail chiefs flagged they were up to two months ahead of schedule on a key part of the transport project.
A 130ft-wide tunnel has already been carved beneath the City Bypass, close to Sheriffhall junction, to make way for the rail line. The major carriageway will now be transferred back to its original alignment by April at the latest.
Network Rail project director Hugh Wark said: “We have made rapid progress with the structure, which will carry the City Bypass across the railway. If all continues to go well, this should allow us to reinstate the original alignment sooner than we anticipated. Once the City Bypass is restored to its original route, we will begin the task of removing the diverted road.
“Traffic flows have been normal throughout the construction period and it’s a tribute to the project team and our frontline crews that we are on course to deliver this important element of the project efficiently and slightly ahead of schedule.”
Work to fill more than 250 mine shafts mainly around the old Monktonhall Colliery – an exercise costing at least £10m – will also be completed shortly. Network Rail has an autumn 2015 start date for the line. Campaign for Borders Rail chairman Simon Walton said: “It’s very encouraging. It can only be good news the construction phase is moving ahead so rapidly.”