MOTORISTS face four weeks of disruption as the latest phase of the tram works closes a busy city-centre junction.
Council bosses warned of rush-hour delays of up to ten minutes when Broughton Street is closed at its junction with Picardy Place from this weekend and York Place is reduced by one lane in each direction.
Today residents said the council could have reduced the disruption by postponing the work for a few weeks until the school holidays, when traffic levels are lower.
The Broughton Street junction will be closed to all traffic from 5am on Saturday; there will be no left turn from York Place into Broughton Street; and Picardy Place will become two-way, with access via the east end only.
Eastbound traffic on York Place will be reduced from three lanes to two at the junction and westbound traffic from two lanes to one.
Extensive diversions will be put in place, sending traffic along Albany Street and Abercromby Place to Dundas Street and on to Queen Street and via East London Street, and Annandale Street to Leith Walk.
A council spokesman said: “During rush-hour traffic drivers may experience delays of five to ten minutes.”
The work is to allow the construction of a link between two existing manholes on either side of York Place, which will then allow underground telecom cables to be switched from their current position down the middle of York Place to the north side of the street, away from the tram line on the south side.
Audrey Cavaye, secretary of the New Town & Broughton community council, said the work would cause a lot of disruption.
“It’s a busy junction,” she said. “It’s a shame they didn’t leave it a few weeks until the school holidays when the traffic will be a lot lighter.”
She said such a postponement would also mean the work was taking place during the quiet period of the July trades holidays.
Ms Cavaye also suggested making an alteration to the traffic light sequence at the junctions of Queen Street with Dundas Street and Howe Street to provide additional time for those turning right.
“You’re probably only talking about an extra 20 seconds and you could get a good half dozen cars through and make it a lot better,” she said.
The work will be carried out in two phases. The first two weeks will involve the north side of the Broughton Street junction, with work stretching into the middle of Picardy Place. The second phase will focus on the south side of the junction at Cathedral Lane.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Trams said: “The work has to be completed ahead of major construction work planned for York Place.
“Senior officials have offered to meet with the New Town and Broughton community council to discuss any issues they may have regarding the works.”