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Contractors invited to tender for £165m Edinburgh tram extension

Edinburgh City Council has started its search for contractors to deliver the city’s major tram extension.

Tendering has begun on the project, which has been divided into two lots: lot 1 - the infrastructure and systems contract, and lot 2 - the Swept Path contract.

The winner of the infrastructure and systems contract will be responsible for bringing the Edinburgh tram to Newhaven and Leith in operation.

The scope of the Swept Path contract will be to clear the tram route of all below ground utilities and obstructions, the parameters of which will be defined by the contractor awarded the lot 1 contract.

The Outline Business Case (OBC) for taking trams to Newhaven was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council back in September, but councillors will not make a final decision on this until autumn 2018.

During the intervening period, known as Stage 2, the project team will test affordability based on tender prices, build up a further 12 months of evidence of tram patronage, consider lessons learned from the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, and work on traffic management arrangements.

The planned works include eight new tram stops, the demolition of York Place tram stop, two substations, bridge works, and 4.6km of embedded, slab and ballast track.

The project is estimated to take three years, including an 18 month period on Leith Walk, followed by four months of resting and commissioning on the new line.

Edinburgh Council estimate the capital cost at £165.2m, including risk and inflation, and anticipate a return of £1.64 to the city’s economy for every £1 spent.

Speaking following approval of the OBC last month, council leader, Adam McVey, said: “Given the rate of growth forecast for Edinburgh over the coming years, we simply cannot stand still.

“And yet we can't proceed with work to take trams down to Newhaven unless we're 100% certain we've rigorously scrutinised the business case and taken on board crucial lessons from the first phase.”

He continued: “We will only make our final decision next autumn once the tendering process has completed and once we've consulted an independent assessor on the viability of the proposed construction contracts.

“We'll also of course consider any lessons learned from Lord Hardie's ongoing tram inquiry as we move forward.”

Transport convener, Cllr Lesley Maccines, added: “We'll take the time while the tender process is ongoing to build and maintain useful two-way relationships with local residents and businesses so we can understand and ideally pre-empt issues which might arise. 

"Stage 2 will also enable us to work with all our partners and stakeholders, including bus companies, the emergency services, residents, businesses and elected members, to properly test and model traffic management plans for the works.”


PP   30/10/2017 at 16:21

Brilliant this is happening at last. I've long been a supporter of the trams, use them regularly, and am pleased to see they've been successful, despite their troubled beginnings. Sadly there's a lot of people in Edinburgh who want them to fail, and would gleefully rip the whole lot up, but this extension will hugely increase ridership and make the initial investment far more worthwhile. I hope it leads to plans to extend further in the future.

Andrew Gwilt   30/10/2017 at 19:42

Even though Edinburgh Tram isn't as big as Manchester Metrolink that has seen recent extensions that the Metrolink does provide better transport in & around Greater Manchester and the neighbouring counties that Metrolink has extended along the borders with Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and North Cheshire (including Manchester Airport which is close to the borders with Cheshire). And with further extensions to be planned including the extension to Stockport. Edinburgh Tram will soon expand to other areas around Edinburgh and also on the borders with neighbouring counties including Midlothian (formerly Edinburghshire), East Lothian (formerly Haddingtonshire) and West Lothian (formerly Linlithgowshire). Or at least on the edge of the Edinburgh area.

Chtrainmaster   31/10/2017 at 13:16

Andrew- clear sentences would help your argument! Having just perused the Edinburgh transport strategy document, the only extensions are the ones for which they already have powers - the one above and the rest of Granton/ Newhaven, the mooted extension from Gogar or Airport to Newbridge, and a slim reference to a long-term ambition to extend to the BioQuarter- no powers currently - which given the caution over extending to Leith and Newhaven when they have existing powers could be decades away. Don't know where the reference to East Lothian comes from, and no-one has used Haddingtonshire or Linlithgowshire for decades.

Jbrown   31/10/2017 at 17:52

3 years for 4.6km of track? I worry whether any lessons have been learned from the previous debacle. I so want the trams to succeed but have no faith in Edinburgh Council being able to deliver.

Andrew Gwilt   01/11/2017 at 09:14

I researched it on Wikipedia Chtrainmaster ok.

PP   01/11/2017 at 16:43

Yeah, it shows. Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source of information.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 00:59

Oh do shut up PP. You want proof. Here is the proof. So technically I was right. End of.

PP   02/11/2017 at 07:27

Oh, good grief. It doesn't matter what those counties were once called, the point is there are no plans to extend the trams into them. Please stop commenting on stuff you know nothing about, and then abusing the people who point it out.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 10:16

Then go comment elsewhere then. For crying out loud.

AJ   02/11/2017 at 10:51

Why should we have to go out of our way to avoid you?

AJG89   02/11/2017 at 11:02

Before the trams came back to Edinburgh. I went to Edinburgh in the 1990's and its a very nice city. Its got good history of itself and how it became Scotland's capital city. Instead of Glasgow that could of been Scotland's capital city. But I do like Edinburgh. Will plan a few days up in Edinburgh and to ride on the trams there.

Nige   02/11/2017 at 12:36

Cool story.

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