Thousands of commuters face months of traffic chaos on the main west route in and out of the city centre.
Haymarket Terrace could be closed for up to three months as part of major works to upgrade and extend the sewer network to reduce the risk of flooding. The project will coincide with the ongoing Edinburgh Gateway works at Gogar – threatening to add hours to the daily commute on one of the Capital’s busiest routes.
Scottish Water’s plans prompted concerns that Haymarket will fall foul of the “ridiculous disruption” experienced during the tram works.
Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “We have had enough of these problems.”
A full schedule for the September works will be unveiled later this year, following month-long preliminary work which is to start next week. The project will focus on the stretch between Magdala Crescent and Rosebery Crescent, and will not affect the tram service. Mr Greig urged the city council and Scottish Water to keep motorists updated on a “hour to hour” basis.
“It’s one of the key transport hubs of Edinburgh – it’s going to affect thousands of people,” he said. “The trouble in Edinburgh is that we are only one set of roadworks away from disruption anyway. We are already at capacity.”
Conservative councillor Nick Cook, the party’s new transport spokesman, said the project had to avoid a repeat of the tram works chaos.
He said: “It’s important that the council and Scottish Water keep a close eye on the ball. We can’t afford to have ridiculous disruption again.”
The construction of the £25 million Edinburgh Gateway rail interchange – which includes the creation of the new Gogar train station and A8 underpass – has paved the way for lane closures and contraflow traffic at the Gogar junction for the rest of the year.
The council said it was working closely with Scottish Water to help minimise disruption at Haymarket Terrace in the coming weeks, and engineers will only work at the site during weekdays after 9.30am.
Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “I would encourage all those travelling through the area to allow extra time for their journeys.”
Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s local community team manager, said: “The purpose of this project is to reduce the possibility of future flooding. Haymarket Terrace is a busy location so it is important that work of this nature is carefully planned to minimise disruption.”