Trams to Newhaven, coronavirus, Construction work
© Annegordon

Construction work on Edinburgh’s Trams to Newhaven scheme will come to a halt this week to protect workers and residents during the coronavirus crisis

Edinburgh City Council has instructed contractors Morrison Utility Services (MUS) and Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN) to cease site works on Trams to Newhaven following advice from Scotland’s First Minister.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has advised that all construction sites should close unless the project is essential.

SFN and MUS will make sites on Leith Walk, Constitution Street, Lindsay Road and Ocean Drive safe by the end of the week before shutting down. This time is required given the complex nature of the project.

Following on from shutdown there will be contractors on site as necessary for safety and security checks, in line with current social distancing guidance.

Work will continue offsite, again operating to social distancing guidelines, including design, planning and scheduling, as well as drawing up a remobilisation strategy for returning to the site once restrictions are lifted.

The project team will also be closely liaising with MUS and SFN to look at ways of mitigating the impact of work stopping on the wider project.

Wellbeing of workers is of utmost importance

Council leader Adam McVey said: “The health and wellbeing of workers delivering key infrastructure schemes like Trams to Newhaven – and those who live nearby – is of utmost importance to us, which is why we’ve been working with contractors, to halt work since the Scottish Government guidance was issued.

“Of course, this will impact on the wider project, but nothing is more important than the public’s safety. We will, of course, be working with contractors to mitigate the impact of these necessary actions and carefully planning our strategy for returning to the site once restrictions are lifted.”

Depute leader Cammy Day said: “We’ve listened to national advice and the message is clear – we must limit our interactions with others during this crucial period. This is a major decision, and we remain committed to delivering the tram to Newhaven, but right now it is absolutely necessary if we are to limit the impact of coronavirus on the city and country as a whole.

“We are making every effort to protect the public while delivering core services and I would encourage people to do their own bit by observing rules on social distancing and looking out for one another where possible.”

SFN project director Alejandro Mendoza, commented: “We fully back the decision and guidance from the government this week to shut down construction sites during this period of great uncertainty.

“These are extremely challenging and concerning times for all and we will do what is necessary for our staff and the public to help stop the spread of this virus.”

Safety and security checks

While traffic management due to be installed on Leith Walk on 28 March will be postponed, existing traffic management on Constitution Street, Lindsay Road and Ocean Drive will remain. Safety and security checks following shutdown will include, but will not be limited to, fenced-off worksites, traffic management signage, diversion routes, logistics hubs and the main compound and satellite offices. This will be in line with current social distancing guidance.

Logistics hubs on Mitchell Street will also close. The project’s contact centre will remain operational for any queries.

Other major infrastructure schemes being carried out by the council across Edinburgh are currently under urgent review in light of UK and Scottish Government guidance.

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