Review of Construction Programme
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- Is the project still on course to be operational by Spring 2023?
- Why are there delays in sections but not a delay in the overall programme?
- Why are you continuing to open new sections before existing sections are complete?
- What are you doing to support businesses during construction?
- There have been reports of issues with materials and a scarcity of skilled labour – how has this impacted the project?
- Why are you working from the top of Leith Walk down?
- Why are there lighting columns in the dedicated cycleways on Leith Walk?
Yes, the project continues to work towards a Spring 2023 open for revenue service and remains within the £207.3m budget agreed in Spring 2023.
Given the significant impact of Covid-19 the project has had to re-schedule sections of work to make sure the overall date for completion is not affected. Based on lessons learned from the first phase of tram (Airport to York Place),along with best practice from similar European construction projects, the project took a decision, prior to commencing any works, to take large worksites which have provided the flexibility needed for works to be rescheduled to combat the impact of Covid-19 and respond to complex issues around utility diversions, such as those at Manderston Street / Leith Walk / Jane Street junctions, Bernard Street, Tower Street and McDonald Road. This has led to an extension of the programme in these specific sections.
A key concept of our construction strategy is creating large construction sites – in the event that we come across a problem, we are able to continue working while that problem is resolved. By opening up new sections while we have experienced issues with materials supply and the availability of skilled labour, we have been able to progress the programme, particularly with MUS diverting utilities and remain on track for a Spring 2023 open for revenue service and deliver the project within the £207.3m budget agreed at committee.
A support for business package, developed in consultation with businesses on the route, has been in operation since the start of construction.
There have been reports of issues with materials and a scarcity of skilled labour – how has this impacted the project?
The project has not been immune to publicised shortage of materials and skilled labour in the construction sector. Various mitigation measures have been put in place and we remain on track for Spring 2023 for open for revenue service. In order to achieve this, there may be instances where certain sections take longer than was previously anticipated.
Annandale Street, McDonald Road and Pilrig Street are key routes for maintaining traffic flows in the area. Working from the top of Leith Walk down will allow these junctions to open and help keep the area moving.
Lighting columns that are currently located on the cycleway will be removed once the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) has been installed on the central reservation on Leith Walk as the OLE poles will incorporate street lighting. This is resulting in some cyclists, who are currently using the cycleway despite signage advising it remains closed, having to approach some sections at angles that will not be required once all works are completed.