PLANS for a £43 million tram and rail interchange at Gogar have been rubber-stamped by councillors, with work set to get under way later this year.
The massive scheme planned by Network Rail became the first ever planning application to have to be approved by a meeting of the full council.
Councillors backed the plans, despite some concerns about the company not being willing to make an underpass that forms part of the scheme available for use by pedestrians and cyclists 24 hours a day.
Network Rail chiefs are now set to thrash out legal agreements with the city council that will allow work to get under way. They hope to start the hunt for a contractor within weeks, with the 12-month project due to get under way in the autumn.
Network Rail has never confirmed the full cost of the scheme, which will link Edinburgh-Fife trains with the tram, but it is understood that the cost of the interchange itself will be around 35m. Another 7.9m will be spent on improvements to the Gogar roundabout, although the council has agreed to pay all but 252,000 of that.
Located east of the Gogar roundabout, where the railway travels under the A8 Glasgow Road, the station will be the main rail link to the airport, with passengers transferring to trams for the final leg of the journey.
During the debate on the issue at full council, Green councillor Alison Johnstone said: "This council seeks to provide good cycling routes within any major development. Being able to cross the A8 whilst travelling by bicycle at any time, day or night, would contribute to these goals."
However, 38 councillors voted against Cllr Johnstone's motion after police raised concerns about it reducing the security of the station.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We are pleased the city council is minded to approve and we are currently working with the local authority to obtain the necessary legal agreements."