Council 'taking the Mickey' as workers scrub up traffic cones
But transport bosses have come under fire after it emerged workers at the Seafield roundabout site have been employed to clean traffic cones.
The council today insisted contractors were legally obliged to clean traffic cones but the sight of the work being carried out at the weekend was met with derision by long-suffering local traders.
Carol Imato, owner of Get Creative craft shop in Portobello High Street, said: "The whole of Portobello has been affected by this. There is not one of us who has not seen our business hit by it.
"Turning up on a Sunday to wash traffic cones is just taking the Mickey. They say it's going to be finished on April 13, but do they mean this year?"
Local councillor Ewan Aitken added: "You couldn't make this up. Whatever the reason for this, it continues to paint the council and this administration in a very bad light for their inability to get this project right."
Originally due for completion in October, the multi-million-pound work at the Portobello junction has continually been put back and is now expected to be finished in the week beginning April 13.
The city's transport chief, Marshall Poulton, has already apologised for the delays to the 2 million scheme, admitting his staff "got it wrong" and vowing not to repeat mistakes on future transport projects. The council said it was pleased the traffic cone work had been carried out on a Sunday, adding that the workers would not have received double time because of the deal struck with the contractor.
Councillor Phil Wheeler, the city's transport convener, said: "Maintenance of the traffic management system includes keeping signs and cones clean to maintain their reflectivity so they can be seen at night. This is a legal requirement of any work on the carriageway that requires traffic management.
"Our contractor was therefore complying with our contract specification and the law. The council is pleased to see that the work was carried out on a Sunday from a health and safety point of view as this is a relatively quiet day for the men to carry out the work amongst the live traffic, thus reducing the risk of accidents to both workers and the general public."
Last year, tram firm TIE was criticised after hiring contractors to power-wash hundreds of traffic cones used for city centre roadworks.
Cones for diverting traffic on Princes Street were among the first to be given the spring clean.
Tram bosses insisted that the cleaning was a safety measure as part of its overall traffic management contract with operator Class One.