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Scotland's major transport projects: The Edinburgh Tram and Forth Crossing

NCE’s Scottish special continues with a look at major transport schemes around the region, as two of the most high profile projects − the Edinburgh Tram and the Forth Replacement Crossing − reached key stages this month. Jessica Rowson reports.

Work is back on track on the Edinburgh Tram following the resolution of a contractual dispute in March (NCE 21 March 2009).

The new tram system, being built by main contractor consortium InfraCo (comprising Bilfinger Berger, Siemens and CAF) will run from Edinburgh airport through central Edinburgh and onwards to Leith and Newhaven and is due to complete in 2012.


A milestone was reached on the £500M project late last month, after Raynesway Construction successfully launched a permanent Bailey bridge in to position at Edinburgh Airport.

The works are part of the £1.5M Burnside Road Relocation contract being carried out by Raynesway on behalf of Transport Initiative Edinburgh (Tie).

The existing Burnside Road, which serves one of the airport’s main service yards and provides access to the car hire point, is being moved because it clashes with the position of the proposed tram stop at the airport.

Onsite at Burnside Road

Onsite at Burnside Road

Set for completion in the New Year, the contract also involves major utility diversions to services for the main airport terminal.

“The new Burnside Bridge signals the next phase of major tram works to commence in close proximity to Edinburgh Airport,” explains Tie project manager Ian Clark.

“The utility diversions along the tram route at the airport are nearing completion. With the tram stop located at the terminal building, the purpose of the bridge is to allow access to the airport’s service yard, a vital artery for its operation as an international hub for visitors.”

“The new Burnside Bridge signals the next phase of major tram works to commence in close proximity to Edinburgh Airport and will allow access to the airport’s service yard.”

Ian Clark, Tie

However, work was complicated by its proximity to the airport. “The 32m long bridge was lifted at one end by a 200t crane and then pushed over the Gogar Burn onto the abutment on the terminal building side of the watercourse,” explains Raynesway Construction managing director Keith Moorhead.

“The process was further complicated due to the bridge’s proximity to the airport where special care had to be taken to ensure that the lights from the crane didn’t cause confusion to incoming flights.”

Other tram works in the west of Edinburgh are underway and include: the construction of a new viaduct at Haymarket; a bridge at Carrick Knowe; demolition of buildings at Roseburn Street; preparatory works at Edinburgh Park; preparation for track laying at South Gyle; preparatory work for the A8 underpass and pitch relocation works at Murrayfield.

Working to create the Edinburgh Tram

Working to create the Edinburgh Tram

Meanwhile, over on another of Scotland’s major schemes, the Forth Replacement Crossing took giant strides forward last month with the introduction of the Forth Crossing Bill to Scottish Parliament and the invitation of shortlisted contractors to tender for the project.

The new bridge will secure a route over the Forth between Queensferry and Rosyth − in 2004 corrosion was found in the cables of the existing Forth Road Crossing, raising concerns over its durability.

The introduction of the hybrid Bill − the first of its type ever taken forward in Scotland − began the first of three parliamentary stages last month. The Bill’s introduction marks the start of a consultation period where those affected by the scheme can lodge objections and this is to be completed by November 2010.


Transport Scotland also announced its shortlisted contractors who it will invite to tender for the contract, which is anticipated to be priced between £900M and £1.2bn. Two consortia, Forthspan and Forth Crossing Constructors Group.

Forthspan is a consortium comprising Vinci, Balfour Beatty, Bam Nuttall and Morgan. Forth Crossing Constructors comprises Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrison. It is anticipated the award of the contract will be made in spring 2011 and construction is expected to begin later that year.

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