The contractor and client in the troubled Edinburgh tram project have said the mediation talks designed to re-start the £545M scheme have been “very constructive”.
In a statement one week into the mediation, City of Edinburgh Council and its transport agency Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (tie) and contractor consortium members Bilfinger Berger, Siemens and CAF, along with funder Transport Scotland, have “established a mutual understanding of the key issues that have been impeding the progress of the Edinburgh tram project”.
The statement adds: “The parties to the contract are working together to firm up the framework for our future working arrangements and successful delivery of the project.”
It is believed that the process will take two weeks to complete.
The consortium, led by Bilfinger Berger, and tie have been in dispute over changes and delays to the project for more than two years.
The line is likely to be delivered truncated to Edinburgh city centre rather than to Newhaven in the north of the city as was originally planned, but there is no confirmed opening date due to the delays. It was originally planned to open this year.
Speaking at the start of the talks, tie chief executive Richard Jeffrey said: “Mediation is a critical juncture for the tram project and I am confident that all parties can work together to find a way forward.
“While we understand that there is a lot of interest in the process it is vital that it is carried out in private in order for us to gain the best deal possible for the city, and all those involved have agreed to maintain a policy of confidentiality throughout.”
The Scottish Government has capped its investment in the project at £500M, with the city council paying the remainder.
The local authority has been taking steps to increase its contribution from £45M to up to £100M to cover additional costs.