First tracks laid in £207m tram project

THE first tracks have been laid in Leith as part of the £207 million trams to Newhaven project.

Contractors Morrisons Utility Services and Sacyr Farrans Neopul are currently working on sections of the 2.91-mile route next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre and in Tower Street, Leith.

The work comes as councillors approved the continued construction of the line in light of an updated final business case (FBC) reflecting the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the project.

The report includes a series of scenarios developed to stress-test the FBC – each of which the local authority said demonstrate a positive economic case for the project, and in all but one scenario the impact on council reserves if the project is cancelled would be greater than continuing construction.

The City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey, commented, “It’s fantastic to see tracks in the ground in Leith – it’s a real milestone for this major project. We’re already beginning to see the route take shape and get an idea of just what a positive impact it will have on the local community. It’s particularly encouraging to know that the economic and business cases for Trams to Newhaven remain sound, despite the challenges of this year. Now we can progress with this exciting stage of the scheme safe in the knowledge that it will deliver the maximum benefits for local residents and the city as a whole.”

Depute leader Cammy Day added, “It’s essential that we continue to invest in sustainable, clean transport and Trams to Newhaven is a key example. There is no doubt in the positive effects this scheme will have on the environment, the local economy and in encouraging development along the line. I’m delighted that the updated business case supports this as progress with construction continues apace.”