Traffic chaos lies ahead as £400k mains work begins

MOTORISTS face seven months of disruption as a £400,000 project gets under way to replace ageing gas mains in the city centre.

• Gas works in Queensferry Road in 2009 caused massive disruption

Utility firm Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) said work to replace around 850 metres of pipes in and around Queensferry Street would begin on Sunday and last for 28 weeks.

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The company is set to begin a leaflet campaign in the area warning local residents of the work, while the city's bus firms have also been advised to divert services.

The work is part of a city-wide project to replace 400 miles of gas mains, a job expected to take more than 20 years to complete.

News of the work comes at a time when more than 500 different sets of roadworks are under way or about to begin, according to the Scottish Roadworks Commissioner.

Work in the West End has been split into phases and will begin at the junction of Queensferry Street and Hope Street, before moving on to the junctions with Melville Street, Randolph Street and Drumsheugh Place.

Local residents have already complained about the area becoming a traffic bottleneck due to cars being banned from Shandwick Place during the tram works.

Last week, the city council agreed to allow a temporary change to the junction at the bottom of Lothian Road, allowing left turns in to Shandwick Place.

It is hoped the move will ease congestion in side roads, with local residents warning of worsening pollution levels associated with heavy traffic.

A spokesman for SGN said: "Work is starting on Sunday and we're going to be investing around 400,000 in Queensferry Street. A project this size requires us to do a lot of work will all the different bus companies to let them know what we're doing and allow them to put diversions in place."

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A spokeswoman for the city council added: "Scotia Gas Networks are due to start essential work, diversions will be in place for commuters and we are working with the utility company to ensure the impact on traffic flow is kept to a minimum."

Around half of Edinburgh's 850-mile gas-pipe network is being dug up after a ruling from the Health and Safety Executive that old iron mains had to be replaced with new plastic pipes.

Around 70 per cent of gas mains across the country must be replaced under the Health and Safety Executive's guidance, with Edinburgh thought to have around 60 per cent more of the old-style mains than the national average.

The decision to replace the country's old mains followed the death of a family in an explosion in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire.

Andrew and Janette Findlay and their children Stacey, 13, and Daryl, 11, died in the explosion in 1999.


ENGINEERS are continuing to restore gas to hundreds of homes which have been without supplies since Thursday.

Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) yesterday said around 375 homes in Granton were still without gas after water got into the network last week.

In a statement, the company said: "Our engineers are still working to restore gas. However, our efforts have been hampered by the severe weather conditions currently being experienced in Edinburgh. We would like to thank everyone for their continued patience."

The company also confirmed that compensation would be paid to customers left cut off.

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