Revised management keeps trams on track
A Council paper published today (22 October) details the significant progress made by the tram project since work restarted in April 2011.
The project is on budget, with work either ahead of schedule or in line with the revised timescale reported in June 2011. Passenger services are still expected to run by summer 2014 and it is anticipated that full route tram testing will take place from Edinburgh Airport to York Place in late Spring 2014.
The report also contains positive news for local businesses and visitors to Shandwick Place and St Andrew Square with improved pedestrian access for shoppers to be available before Christmas.
Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: "This positive update demonstrates once again the excellent progress that has been made since the revised programme began.
"The tram is Scotland's second largest infrastructure project and, as everyone knows, there have been a number of challenges to overcome. However, I'm very pleased that we are continuing to move in the right direction.
"It's vital that we build on this progress and, where we can, aim to complete works early. We understand the huge importance of Christmas to retailers so steps are being taken to try to improve access for shoppers by fully opening Princes Street and improving pedestrian access around St Andrew Square and Shandwick Place.
"We'll continue to listen to local businesses and residents and we'll use their feedback to minimise disruption wherever possible."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:"Since the new governance arrangements were put in place last year, Transport Scotland has played a key role in supporting the Council and Contractor in getting the trams project back on track, and I am pleased to see that this report shows considerable progress has been made by all those involved with the project since September last year.
"However, we shouldn't forget that many people and businesses in Edinburgh have been inconvenienced by the tram works, and everyone involved owes it to them to ensure the project is delivered by summer 2014."
All works along the route are now well underway and the report sets out the following client targets for future progress:
- All major utility diversion works to be completed by end November 2012
- Improve shopping access in Shandwick Place and reduce, where practical, the work site area in St Andrew Street up to Multrees Walk by end November 2012
- Open the remainder of Princes Street and reduce traffic management at the east end by end November 2012
- Completion of the majority of civil engineering road and track works at the east end of Shandwick Place by February/March 2013
- Provide the opportunity for a limited eastbound bus route through Shandwick Place and Coates Crescent by summer 2013
- Subject to favourable weather allowing the client target programme to be followed, the target is to carry out test runs between the airport and York Place early in 2014
A testing programme of works between the Gogar tram depot and Edinburgh Airport is due to take place later this year. Details of this programme will be made available soon.
Passenger services on the tram are still scheduled to be ready for summer 2014 but opportunities continue to be sought to maintain or improve aspects of the target programme.
1. The Council and the Bilfinger Berger Siemens consortium (Infraco) recently signed a memorandum of understanding which re-affirmed the commitment made during mediation to complete the project by July 2014.
2. The project remains in line with the revised budget (£776m) approved by Council in September 2011. 3. Another progress report will be presented to Council early in 2013.
You can follow discussions about the tram project by watching a live webcast of the Full Council Meeting.