How is the project managing utilities and the need for diversions?
While a significant number of major utilities were diverted as part of the original scheme, there is still a requirement to deal with residual utilities along the route. Any required diversions will be carried out in coordination with Morrison Utility Services (MUS) and relevant utility companies and at the direction of the project team.
Importantly, MUS will be working in sites prepared by our main civil engineering contractor – Sacyr Farrans Neopul JV - allowing the main tram works to commence immediately after the utility works are complete.
Following tests on some areas along the route we anticipate that we will need to move around 1,200 utility services. This includes electrical power lines, water pipes, telecommunication cables, gas pipes and sewerage and drainage systems.
Our engagement during the Early Contractor Involvement period has allowed all parties to work closely to plan these works.
Why does the traffic management on Leith Walk only accommodate one direction of traffic and not two-way traffic?
In order to provide the contractor with a site large enough to accommodate the excavation required to construct the tram infrastructure, we are constrained to only providing a single running lane for general traffic and buses. Had we provided two-way traffic either side of the construction site, we will require a significantly longer period of time to complete the Leith Walk section of the works. The construction methodology of providing the contractor with large worksites is commonly used on major transport projects and allows works to continue in other areas in the event an unexpected occurrence requires construction having to stop in a particular area. This is a key lesson learned from the first phase of tram.
Through communication with Lothian Buses, it was identified that a city bound running lane limited disruption associated with bus diversions as far as reasonably possible, while traffic diversion routes on both Easter Road and Bonnington Road can sufficiently accommodate Leith bound traffic.
Traffic modelling of the above diversions has confirmed that the alternative routes chosen can accommodate the increase in traffic volume.
Why is the project doing external surveys of all the buildings and internal surveys of listed buildings on the route?
The Council’s main contractor Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN) is required to carry out surveys on properties adjacent to the route. The purpose of the survey is to record the existing structural condition of properties prior to the main work commencing and while we do not envisage any damage to properties resulting from the construction works, it is normal practice for a project of this nature that a means of identifying any issues is in place.
Surveying agent, Dougal Baillie Associates (DBA), has been appointed by SFN to carry out the property surveys. All properties facing directly onto the work site will be subject to an external inspection and in the case of listed buildings, it is important that internal examinations of premises are carried out. There are 111 listed buildings on the route.
The survey will entail photographs of the internal structure, measurements and note taking of all the details that are necessary to ensure a robust survey of the building structure is carried out. All of the surveying staff will carry DBA identification badges.
A copy of the survey findings will be made available to owners if requested.
Will there be any further consultation with residents and businesses with respect to the final design?
There will be one further round of consultation with the community once the designs have been finalised. The Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) consultation will commence during 2020 and will give residents and businesses the opportunity to view and comment on the proposals. The final designs currently being drawn up, following the significant amount of consultation the project undertook in 2018 and 2019 with the community. The final layout will take account of feedback received and will be a better reflection of the community's aspiration for the project.