Leith Programme Stakeholder Update 106: Phase 4 (Pilrig Street to McDonald Road)

(adapted from an email sent by Michael Motion of Turner & Townsend at 18:00 on 8 August. We apologise for the late posting of this news: our web-weaver was on holiday.)

Dear Stakeholder,

Leith Programme Phase 4 is currently observing the Edinburgh Festival embargo on road works within the city and, as such, has now demobilised fully from Leith Walk and Iona Street.  The Contractor will return to site to re-mobilise and commence the remaining works as of Monday 28thAugust. 

Works will include completion of remaining footpath paving at Brunswick Street, and the Leith Walk road resurfacing from Iona Street to Brunswick Street, including construction of the raised tables at the junctions of Iona, Albert and Brunswick Street, with any remaining ancillary works, ie. installation of bicycle stands, also being carried out. Works will also include the implementation of the 2-stage right turn for cyclists at the McDonald Road/Brunswick Road junction, and putting into use the segregated cycleway, for which the Council will be carrying out a focussed communications campaign to provide advice on the use of, and the behaviours associated with, these new elements of the street.  It is anticipated that remaining works will take 10 weeks, with traffic management and road closures implemented as required.  On recommencement of the project works, the Leith Programme team will continue with the weekly project updates to be issued to all stakeholders with details of the ongoing works.

Tram to Newhaven

Further to the Council’s decision in 2015 to investigate the feasibility of taking Edinburgh Tram to Newhaven, a report will be going to Transport and Environment Committee on 4 September 2017 and then to full Council on 21 September 2017 on the suggested way forward.

The report will give details of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for taking Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven and seek authority from full Council on 21 September 2017 to enter into a procurement exercise to identify a potential contractor for the project. A final decision on whether to proceed and, with which contractor, would be made in Autumn 2018 by Council. The report will be made public on the City of Edinburgh Council website on Tuesday 29 August 2017.

As such, a request has been made to the Scottish Government to sist (put on hold) the Phase 5 Public Hearing until this decision is made, while any further design/consultation work in regards to Phase 6 has also been stopped at this time. In the event Tram goes ahead, the remaining Leith Programme works will be incorporated into the Tram to Newhaven project. Phase 4 of the Leith Programme (Pilrig Street to McDonald Road) will continue, and will be completed by October 2017.

If the project goes ahead the construction will take approximately 3 years and will be open to the public by between April and June 2022. Once phase 4 of the Leith Programme is finished in October 2017 there will be no non-emergency works on Leith Walk until Spring 2019.

The estimated cost of the project including construction costs, risk and inflation is £165.2m. The proposed route goes down Leith Walk and Constitution Street, Ocean Way and along Ocean Drive to Ocean Terminal and beyond. Currently over six million people use the Tram and by taking it to Leith the OBC forecasts this to increase to 13 million. Lothian Buses is also projected to continue to perform strongly.

Leith is an area of high population density and is forecast to grow further over the coming years. With car ownership low in the area, looking at ways to enhance the public transport system is necessary to avoid congestion and improve air quality.

The report outlines the planned traffic management approach that would be taken to deliver the project as quickly and as efficiently as possible. How this will be delivered will become clearer in the event a contractor is appointed to take the project forward and works will be coordinated with the Edinburgh St James development. The OBC also confirms that a business compensation scheme will be set up in the event the project goes ahead.

Further updates will be issued in due course.

Leith Street Works

As part of the plan to help facilitate Edinburgh St James and the wider regeneration of the east end of the city, essential works to reconfigure and renew the whole of Leith Street will soon commence.

To carry out this works programme, a closure of a section of Leith Street is required, between the junction of Princes Street (Waterloo Place) and the turning into Calton Road, for up to ten months. Works will commence from 4 September 2017, with traffic management changes implemented from 5am on Saturday 2 September 2017.

Leith Street will remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and emergency services throughout the closure. Access to Greenside Row and entry to Calton Road from Leith Street will be maintained for local businesses and parking throughout.

In order to keep all traffic flowing efficiently throughout the closure, a clearly marked diversion route with increased capacity will be put in place via London Road/Montrose Terrace/Easter Road and then on to Regent Road. This diversion requires additional changes to the traffic signal heads, which will be carried out in phases at each junction from Monday 7 August until 20th August 2017. Each junction will be managed under temporary signals until the permanent signal arrangement is turned on 20 August 2017.

Several other measures will also be installed on the road network in the city, in order to facilitate the Leith Street works programme:

  • A buses/taxis/cyclists only left hand turn from North Bridge to Princes Street.
  • A yellow box at the junction of London Road/Blenheim Place.
  • Yellow box at the junction of Princes Street/South St Andrew Street.
  • Hanover Street/George Street – new restrictions introduced.
  • Princes Street/Leith Street – new lining and traffic signals sequence, to reflect the closure.

The majority of the work required for the above is lining and signing.

For further information, please see: www.edinburghstjames.com/construction

165 Leith Walk

The former tram depot (located at 165 Leith Walk) is due for demolition and further communication will follow regarding the programme for these works in the coming weeks.  The area will be cleared and a creative workspaces project will occupy part of this site.

Following our update in Stakeholder Update 100, informing you of the proposed works to the former Leith Tram Depot at 165 and 165A Leith Walk, we have been working with our contractor, Dalton Demolition during this pre demolition phase to ensure all necessary planning approvals are in place.  This is currently on programme to be complete by the End of August with a start on site around early September 2017 with preparation works commencing to allow full demolition to commence in October 2017.  The works are likely to take 6 months to complete.

Following completion of the demolition works the area will be cleared and a creative workspaces project will occupy part of this site with the smaller building at the front of the former depot (165a Leith Walk) being retained and refurbished to create a pilot partnership hub delivering local services.

Should you have any queries, or require any further information in regards to the above, please do not hesitate to make contact by using leith.programme@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Kind Regards

Michael Motion

Leith Programme