First Look: Work starts on new bridge over A90 to reconnect village to Edinburgh
Construction has started on a bridge connecting a village and the Capital amid frustration the community has had to wait three years for the vital link to be replaced.
The city council has now laid foundations on a replacement Burnshot Bridge across the A90. The original bridge, which connects the village of Kirkliston with the city centre, was demolished in 2017 after being closed to traffic in 2016 because of deteriorating joints. The replacement bridge is set to be completed by the spring of 2020.
The total cost of the project is £4,585,227 - demolition of the former bridge cost £820,677, while the design set the council back £323,155 and the construction of the new bridge carries a budget of £3,441,395.
As work takes place to restore the link, motorists travelling on the A90 are being urged to observe temporary reduced speed limits which have been put in place to protect workers next to the road.
A 40mph speed limit, currently in place permanently to the south of the bridge site, has been extended north of the bridge and an additional 50mph speed limit has been introduced between the Dolphington and Burnshot junctions on the southbound carriageway.
Police Scotland will continue to monitor the stretch of road for speeding, but drivers are being asked to consider the safety of construction workers.
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “It’s fantastic to see this project progressing, which will see a key route restored to the area, benefiting a range of road users.
“This is an extremely complex scheme, which has involved close communication with local residents, businesses and active travel groups, so I know how much its completion means to the community.
“As the bridge begins to take shape, I want to take the opportunity to remind drivers to take workers’ safety into consideration when passing the site, by adhering to the speed limit in place.”
But a local ward councillor, who has previously accused the council's SNP-Labour administration of treating rural residents as "second-class citizens" over the delayed construction, has claimed major projects in the city centre would not have been held up for so long.
Liberal Democrat ward Cllr Kevin Lang, said: "Whilst it is good to see progress being made, there are still serious questions to why things have taken so long to get to this point.
"It is now close to three years since the original bridge was closed, cutting off a key route between Edinburgh and Kirkliston, and causing major disruption for residents and businesses. I simply cannot imagine the transport convener putting up with this kind of delay for any bridge in the centre of Edinburgh.”
The new Burnshot Bridge will incorporate improved cycling and pedestrian facilities, designed with input from active travel groups, including a segregated eastbound cycle lane and a shared use path.
The next stages of the construction project will involve the columns being built - followed by the addition of beams later this year, on which the bridge deck will sit.
As part of the 2018/19 city council budget, money was committed by the SNP/Labour coalition for the construction of a new bridge. But in a briefing note from council officials, it was confirmed that construction work would not start until May of this year.