Works will start from London Road to York Place on the Trams to Newhaven project in the next four weeks.
There will be three phases of works within this section, with the first beginning on Monday 11 October 2021. This article outlines the first phasing of works only.
Site will be established over the weekend of Saturday 9 / Sunday 10 October 2021 and will include a realignment of the London Road roundabout. A temporary pedestrian crossing will be installed through the site across from the Playhouse Theatre. This may have to move at times whilst works progress. Morrison Utility Services (MUS) will begin ground excavation works with the clearance of any utility services and archaeological works. Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul (SFN), will then continue with full tram infrastructure works
Traffic Management - Phase One
During the first phase of works, one lane of traffic will continue to run northbound from York Place with access to London Road via a right-hand turn and straight ahead to access Gayfield Square, Leith Walk and Annandale Street. Traffic will be able to travel southbound from Leith Walk with a turn left option to London Road or straight on past Greenside Place for Leith Street, York Place and Broughton Street. In this phase there will be no right turn northbound onto Leith Walk for traffic travelling from London Road. Access will be by travelling round the construction site on Picardy Place and back towards Leith Walk.
Phase Two and Three
The second phase of works will start in January 2022 and will see an extension of site from Picardy Place to York Place. This is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2022. During this phase the existing tram network will still be fully operational into the York Place tram stop.
A third and final phase will include a further extension of the site into York Place including the removal of the existing tram stop as the final construction will see this stop relocated to Picardy Place. During this phase the tram service will terminate at St Andrew Square tram stop.
The three phases of works are projected to be complete in Autumn 2022. Details of the traffic management plans for phases two and three are being finalised and will be communicated at a later date. Please note, East London Street will not be used as a diversion route for buses or heavy good vehicles.
The Logistics hub on Montgomery Street will be operational to help with deliveries and dispatches. Help will also be at hand at these logistics hubs for residents expecting large deliveries such as appliances or furniture. Loading bays outside Tesco on Picardy Place will remain in place and there will also be loading provision on Union Street.
Details of any bus diversions can be found on the Lothian Buses website.
Frequently asked questions
Why is the construction site so large?
In developing the construction strategy for the project, the project has drawn on lessons from the first phase of tram and good practice for construction projects from other European cities. Our traffic management arrangements allow us to open large work sites to allow utility and main tramway construction works to be undertaken continuously. This also allows works to continue in the event of any problem being encountered during construction and fewer traffic management changes enables those affected by the works to adapt to the revised arrangements. While we will be establishing large worksites, it will not mean we are always working in every area. However, our construction strategy only works by establishing these large worksites.
Why are you doing this last and why wasn’t it done during Edinburgh St James development?
As part of the construction strategy and in order to minimise the impact on the existing tram operations, the agreement was always to construct this section towards the end of the project. Construction is starting earlier than previously anticipated in order to progress works and mitigate against the COVID 19 closure.
What is happening with the island site?
The City of Edinburgh Council will be leading on a consultation on the final design for the island site. It should be noted that the kerb lines and layout of Picardy Place were agreed by committee in January 2018. The consultation will deal with how the island site looks. Further details will be available in due course.
How will this tie in with City Centre West to East Link and Leith Walk cycleway?
As part of the design for Picardy Place, cycleways across the island site will connect City Centre West to East Link on York Place to the dedicated cycleway provision down to the Foot of the Walk that is being developed as part of the Trams to Newhaven project.
Why are you doing this in three phases?
Carrying out the work in three phases allows the project to build this section as efficiently as possible while minimising the impact of taking the tracks across the Broughton Street / Picardy Place junction.
Why are you moving the York Place tram stop to Picardy Place?
The tram stop at York Place will be demolished as the stop is currently located on top of the position for the tracks to be taken through to Picardy Place and beyond. The stop at York Place was always envisaged as being temporary and as such the track slab has already been constructed under the stop.
Why is the work taking 11 months?
The section between London Road and York Place is constrained and the complexity of the junction, the associated traffic management that is required, and the requirement to build a stop at Picardy Place, has resulted in an estimate of 11 months to complete this section.
Why are you opening up another site when you are still to finish on existing sites?
Works on the London Road to York Place section was always scheduled to take place while works were ongoing on Leith Walk. This is in line with the project’s construction strategy. There is a nationwide industry issue with the supply of concrete which may result in some existing sections seeing reduced level of progress. The project team continues to work on mitigation measures to minimise any impact and this may result in the prioritisation of programme critical areas, such as Picardy Place, during the supply shortage period. The project is still on course for completion by Spring 2023 and within budget.
Why has the right turn been banned from London Road on to Leith Walk and what is the alternative route?
Modelling has shown that the inclusion of a right-hand turn from London Road to Leith Walk will result in significant traffic delays on London Road and Leith Walk. To mitigate these delays, the design has removed the right-hand turn into Leith Walk. This design is also based on traffic count data that has shown there is limited demand for this movement. The alternative is to utilise the Picardy Place junction should traffic from London Road wish to head north on Leith Walk.
If you have any concerns or further questions regarding these works then please contact the Trams to Newhaven project team by email on [email protected] or alternatively contact our customer helpline on 0131 322 1122 (local rate Monday to Sunday 8am to 7pm).