Edinburgh trams: Section of track to be ripped up

Part of Shandwick Place will have its concrete ripped out and relaid. Picture: Julie Bull
Part of Shandwick Place will have its concrete ripped out and relaid. Picture: Julie Bull
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MORE than 150 metres of concrete laid as part of the tram works will have to be ripped up following a sub-contractor blunder, the News can reveal.

The concrete between Haymarket and Shandwick Place will have to be redone, with estimates suggesting the work will take up to four weeks.

Despite this, tram bosses have insisted it will not delay the reopening of the thoroughfare or push back completion of the transport project.

It is understood the unnamed contractor will foot the bill for the blunder, which saw concrete set between the tram line and road surface laid “proud” – or high – before being shaved down too shallow.

Today, fed-up retail chiefs said tram work along the route had been a “shambles” and questioned whether it would be opened to traffic on the revised timetable.

Michael Apter, chair of the West End Traders Association, said it was “disappointing” to hear there had been another construction error that needed more time to be patched up.

“It’s not the first time we have had issues with concrete being poured in the wrong place at the wrong depth at the wrong time,” he said.

“At a stakeholder meeting [with the council] in April they said the trams would be testing in August or September and we could anticipate seeing the road open to general traffic by July.”

The council said work along Haymarket and Shandwick Place was expected to be completed by the autumn.

Grant McKeeman, of Copymade in West Maitland Street, who claims disruption from the tram project has cost him £2000 a week, said: “The council has been giving themselves a pat on the back for getting the whole street right through to Shandwick Place open by the end of July.

“This just shows the gross incompetence of everyone involved. It’s just a shambles. This is such an important stretch into Princes Street. You just think ‘can it get any worse?’

“They have to be working 24 hours a day to get this sorted.”

It is understood three locations that failed quality assurance tests are at York Place around Elder Street, the curve at the east side of Shandwick Place at Lothian Road and the east end of Haymarket.

A council spokesman said: “Infraco have advised us that they have found elements of work which have not met their quality assurance satisfaction. Details of a programme of work to remedy this are being put together and will be with the council shortly. These works will be at cost to the contractor and will not affect the completion date.

“This proactive approach from the contractor is helping to make sure that the tram is of the highest standard required by the council. We remain on course to hit the revised budget and timeframe.”