Edinburgh Councillors last week voted to overturn a decision to terminate the city’s much maligned tram before it reached the city centre.
Loan for £231M shortfall
The council will now have to take out a loan to cover the scheme’s £231M shortfall.
The City of Edinburgh Council will borrow to fund construction of the line as far as St Andrew Square. It had previously planned to truncate the line at Haymarket on cost grounds.
The line was originally due to run from Edinburgh Airport through the city centre − including Haymarket and St Andrew Square and then east to the old port of Newhaven. The original cost for the full scheme was £545M, with £500M provided Transport Scotland and £45M by Edinburgh City Council. The £231M will only pay for the line to run as far as St Andrew Square.
Friday’s vote in a meeting convened by Lord Provost George Grubb follows months of indecision as councillors’ grappled with the escalating cost of the project amid disputes between Transport Initiative Edinburgh (Tie) − the council client set up to deliver the project − and the contractors Bilfinger Berger and Siemens.
“Bordering on the unmanageable”
The project started on site in 2007 but complications with utilities works triggered a dispute between contractors and client. Tie is being wound down and cost consultant Turner & Townsend has taken over the scheme.
Engineers said the project should have been handled better from the start. “Costs have spiralled and if Transport Scotland had handled this from the beginning, I don’t think we would be in this position,” said Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland chief executive Alan Watt.
“The project is bordering on the unmanageable.”