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Edinburgh tram client wound up

Edinburgh City Council’s transport leader last week admitted that the arms length firm set up to deliver the city’s tram project was not up to the job.

Lacking skills for the job

Liberal Democrat councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport convener, told NCE that Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) did not have the skills to deliver the project.

“We needed the skills of a national agency [Transport Scotland] to help deliver the project,” said Mackenzie.

Transport Scotland was reinstated back into the project last week.

Mackenzie’s comments came as Tie was formally wound up by the council. Its existing functions have been transferred to Edinburgh City Council supported by cost consultant Turner & Townsend.

“With the benefit of hindsight Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) should never have been set up,” he added.

“With the benefit of hindsight Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) should never have been set up”

Liberal Democrat councillor Gordon Mackenzie

Work on the project stalled in March because of a dispute about the cost of utility diversion involving the council, contractor Bilfinger Berger and systems firm Siemens.

Edinburgh City Council has now reached a settlement with Bilfinger Berger and Siemens to allow work on the tram to re-start.

Intensive negotiations have been ongoing between all parties since they entered a formal mediation process in March.

No details about the settlement have been released, but construction from the airport, west of the city, to St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh city centre is due for completion in 2014.

Bilfinger Berger and Siemens were contracted to build the tram line from Edinburgh airport to Newhaven, but cost overruns forced councillors to truncate the line at St Andrew’s Square in the centre.

The Edinburgh Tram was due to run from the city’s airport to Newhaven in the East costing £545M. The truncated line to St Andrew’s Square will now cost £776M.

Transport Scotland threatened to pull a £72M grant from the scheme if it did not reach the city centre (NCE 8th Sept).

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