Edinburgh Leith Walk tram works: London Road junction at top of the walk reopens in 'key milestone' for works
The reopening of a key junction at the top of Edinburgh’s Leith Walk has been welcomed as a ‘key milestone’ in the tram works.
The junction with London Road at the top of Elm Row reopened on Saturday (12 November), as the project moves into its final phase of construction. Constitution Street, from the Bernard/Baltic junction to Queen Charlotte Street also reopened to traffic.
Council bosses said the progress was “good news” for residents and businesses alike and signalled more sections will reopen in coming weeks – with Leith Walk expected to be fully opened for two-way traffic before Christmas.
Vehicles will not be permitted to turn left off Leith Walk onto London Road once the junction re-opens, as part of the final design. But can turn right from Picardy Place onto London Road and turn right off London Road onto Leith Walk heading north.
Edinburgh Trams confirmed this week the section of Constitution Street between Queen Charlotte Street and the entrance to South Leith Parish Church will also re-open to traffic. Temporary traffic management arrangements will be in place by The Chop House while a small section of the footway is reinstated.
The £207.3m project, which runs through Leith Walk and Broughton Street among other areas, has caused traffic chaos and community frustrations along Leith Walk during development which started in November 2019. There are still a number of bus diversions in place around the area.
The City of Edinburgh Council has anticipated that all “major construction” will be completed by the end of 2022. During the last leg of development of the project final sections of track will be laid and developers are preparing to electrify the full line. Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, acknowledged how disruptive recent years have been for residents and businesses as a result of the project but claimed the project was still running on time to be completed by Spring 2023.
He said: “Reopening the section of Constitution Street between Bernard Street and Queen Charlotte Street to traffic is a key milestone for the Trams to Newhaven project, and I know it will be great news for residents and businesses. In addition, reopening the London Road junction following the completion of road surfacing in the area will help with traffic movement there too.
“Of course, I know how disruptive recent years have been to the community and businesses near to the project. I’m glad we’re now able to open these sections and we’re looking forward to opening further sections in the run-up to Christmas. I’d like to thank all those living and working nearby for their patience and cooperation during this time.
“The Trams to Newhaven project continues to run on time and within budget, and once operational next spring will bring real benefits to communities along the route.”