Edinburgh's tram extension: Leith residents suffering 14 hours a day of noisy works now told there will be extended working on Saturdays
Residents in Leith currently having to endure 14 hours a day of noisy tramworks outside their homes have now been told they face extended working on Saturdays.
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Contractors building the £207 million tram extension from York Place to Newhaven say the extra time is needed for the laying of paving stones.
But residents in and around Constitution Street say it will just add to their nightmare.
The longer working hours, which start this Saturday and will last for six weeks, were announced in a weekend Twitter message from the Trams to Newhaven project.
The Evening News told last week how the noise from the stone-cutting was so bad that resident Rhona Alcorn fled her Constitution Street home and spent ten days in England to escape it.
Ms Alcorn says the noise is like being at the dentist’s all day.
She said: "We're not looking forward to the extended hours on Saturdays.
"They have finished laying the track on this stretch of the route so they are doing what they call 'hard landscaping' which to you and me is just pavement.
"The road surface is going to be much narrower than it used to be and the pavements will go virtually right up to the tram lines. The pavements are going to double and in some places triple in size, so that means a lot of paving slabs have had to be brought in and cut and laid.
“They're cutting them on the street outside people's homes and they’re doing them all day – and these are big, heavy thick stones, so it's some sort of grinder they use to cut and trim. It's like being in the dentist's waiting room all day and you hear that noise and it just go right through you.”
Since July 5 the tramworks have been operating from 6am until 8pm Monday to Friday, but that is due to end on Wednesday and work should revert to 8am-7pm.
But from this weekend the site will operate on Saturdays from 8am until 4pm instead of 8am-1pm.
Ms Alcorn said residents had been offered no explanation for switching the extended hours from weekdays to Saturdays.
"I don't know the rationale – their information channels are their website which has loose timetables but doesn’t say this is why we’re doing it this way and ditto with their Twitter messages.
“The sooner this gets done the better,” she said. “But people also need a period of rest in the week and weekends are important."
And she is still questioning whether the extended hours are allowed under the rules for the project.
Ms Alcorn continued: "As I understand it they are not supposed to work outwith the regular timeframe unless it’s an emergency, like water gushing out or the electricity has gone. There's no emergency about cutting paving slabs, so I think it's about pushing ahead, maybe meeting a deadline they're about to miss.”
The council said the extended hours were to ensure the works occupied the footway for the minimum length of time.
A spokeswoman said: “The work with extended hours during the week will finish as planned and for this section on balance it is felt it is the best approach for residents and businesses.”