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Tram works to begin in Constitution Street next month

Posted: 11th October 2019

The first phase of work to take trams to Newhaven is scheduled to get under way on Constitution Street in mid-November, following six months of joint work by the Council and contractors to finalise the construction programme and costs for the project.

The Trams to Newhaven project team has worked hand in hand with the Infrastructure & Systems Contractor (Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul JV) and Swept Path Contractor (Morrison Utility Services) to finalise the plans, carrying out thorough ground and site investigation works to determine conditions along the route, continuing dialogue with residents and conducting a comprehensive survey of traders’ needs.

Passenger services are timetabled to begin in Spring 2023.

The work in finalising the plans has also demonstrated that the project budget of £207.3m reported in the Final Business Case remains achievable.

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “The past six months have been invaluable in allowing the project team to work hand in hand with our contractors to put the designs and construction programme through their paces so that we’re in the best possible position to get started next month. Now that we’ve finalised the plans, we’re pressing ahead with getting everything ready to begin the first phase of work in Constitution Street alongside enabling works on Leith Walk. Given Leith is one of Scotland’s richest sites for urban archaeology, particularly Constitution Street, it’s key that we allow ample time for this aspect of work to get under way.

“Throughout this whole process, we’ve taken a robust, prudent, open and transparent approach, keeping residents and businesses fully informed at every stage and incorporating their feedback directly into the plans so that they are truly community-based. The project’s independent adviser praised our plans as the most closely scrutinised he had ever come across in decades of work in the light rail industry, while community council leaders welcomed our work to involve and engage with communities along the route. We’re hugely grateful to everyone for their contributions.

Depute Council Leader Cammy Day said: “This thorough, collaborative and open approach is exactly how we mean to go on, striving to keep disruption to a minimum and helping maintain the vibrancy and attractiveness of the area as place to live, visit and shop. We’ll be keeping residents and businesses in the loop at every stage of construction, with information provided to those in Constitution Street in the next few weeks on arrangements for waste, buses, loading and parking provision. Full details of a £2.4m Support for Business package will be communicated early in the New Year.

“Taking trams to Newhaven is going to be transformative for Leith, north Edinburgh and the whole of our fast-growing city, opening up new economic, social, housing and development opportunities and connecting thousands more people sustainably to major centres of employment, without putting pressure on existing Council budgets.”

Work will begin in two sections of Constitution Street from Monday 18 November 2019:

  1. Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane
  2. North junction of Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place

Traffic management – approved jointly with members of the city’s Traffic Management Review Panel, including Lothian Buses and the emergency services – will start on 15 November. Throughout this period, access will be maintained from Laurie Street into Kirkgate and from Mitchell Street into Maritime Lane.

A logistics hub to support Constitution Street businesses will be set up on Mitchell Street so that they can receive and despatch deliveries during the construction works. Help will also be at hand via the logistics hub for residents expecting large deliveries such as appliances or furniture.

Communications will continue with residents and businesses on Constitution Street over the course of the next few weeks to explain arrangements during construction, including waste, buses, loading and parking provision.

Details of the overall Support for Business scheme for the construction works will be communicated early in the New Year. However, measures will be in place on Constitution Street when works commence next month, including access to free business improvement courses, an open for business campaign across a range of media and logistics support, with on-street customer service.

Enabling works are also scheduled to get under way on Leith Walk next month to prepare the access lane for traffic ahead of the main construction work, which begins in spring 2020. This will involve the removal of parking and loading bays on Leith Walk on the city bound side of the road. During these works, traffic will continue to flow in both directions and bus stops and will be maintained on the street although they may need to be moved a short distance. Bus timetables will remain as they are.

The full construction programme revealed today is:

Section Dates
Picardy Place to York Place Winter 2021/22 – Summer 2022
Picardy Place to London Road Spring 2021 – Spring 2022
London Road to Manderston Street Enabling works Autumn 2019 (18 Nov) to Spring 2020, main works Spring 2020 – Autumn 2021
Manderston Street to Foot of the Walk Autumn 2021 – Summer 2022
Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane Autumn 2019 (15 Nov) – Spring 2021
Coatfield Lane to Queen Charlotte Street Spring 2021 – Spring 2022
Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place Autumn 2019 (15 Nov) – Autumn 2020
Constitution Place to Tower Place Autumn 2021 – Summer 2022
Tower Place to Rennie’s Isle Spring 2021 – Autumn 2021
Rennie’s Isle to Ocean Terminal Summer 2020 – Spring 2021
Ocean Drive Spring 2020 – Autumn 2020
Ocean Drive to Melrose Drive Summer 2021 – Autumn 2021
Melrose Drive Autumn 2021 – Spring 2022
Melrose Drive to Newhaven Spring 2020 – Summer 2021

Work has been programmed in the above phases in order to minimise disruption to residents and businesses and to facilitate the delivery of the project.

Alejandro Mendoza Monfort, SFN JV Project Director, said:

“On behalf of the Sacyr Farrans Neopul Joint Venture, we are delighted at the announcement. As a team, we were confident the ECI period would bring great benefits to the project through the collaboration with the Council and key stakeholders. This six-month period has given all parties a great stepping stone to build on and we now look forward to delivering a successful Trams to Newhaven project, along with the wide-ranging social and economic benefits for the local community.

“At every point during delivery, we will pay close attention to maintaining the highest levels of safety and quality. We will ensure the needs of the community and local businesses are central to our plans, to ensure they experience minimum disruption. We are committed to ensuring we leave a positive lasting legacy to the community of Leith, Newhaven and the City of Edinburgh.”

Peter Carolan, Executive Director, Morrison Utility Services, said: 

“We are delighted that the project has had final sign off from the Council.  During the ECI period, we have demonstrated our ability to work in a collaborative manner, offer real depth of experience in delivering large scale utility contracts and the ability to deploy innovation which will deliver tangible benefits to the successful delivery of the project.

“As we move to the next phase of the project our goal will be to build on the strong relationships formed with our construction partners and City of Edinburgh Council during the ECI period and deliver the project to the highest safety and delivery standards, while driving a positive customer experience.”



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