Waverley Bridge to be closed to traffic at weekend peak times over Christmas market public safety

Council officials will close Waverley Bridge to vehicles during busy weekend periods during the Christmas market - while buses will operate from George Street and St Andrew's Square.

Waverley Bridge will be closed to vehicles during weekend peak periods to ensure public safety during this year’s Christmas market.

The event, organised by Underbelly, will begin on Saturday. The event regularly exceeds an attendance of 100,000 – while the busiest day last year attracted a crowd of 124,000.

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Edinburgh City Council bosses have agreed to close Waverley Bridge to traffic from 11am until 5om on Saturdays and Sundays from this weekend until January 5.

The Waverley Bridge five-bay taxi rank will be moved to Market Street, eastbound opposite Motel One, while the tour and Airlink buses normally stationed on Waverley Bridge will operate from George Street and St Andrew Square respectively.

These measures have been planned following recommendations from the council’s event planning and operations group, as well as an independent crowd safety consultant working with the council and Underbelly to manage the entry and exit points and the busy junction on Waverley Bridge.

Transport convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “The festive season is extremely busy in the city centre with Edinburgh’s Christmas in full swing in East Princes Street Gardens as well as a significant increase in shoppers and other seasonal activities. In a thriving and busy festival city such as ours we must make sure we put in place appropriate plans to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the many residents and visitors who pass through our streets every day.

“These six-hour-long daytime Saturday and Sunday closures on Waverley Bridge will ease congestion on the busy pavements and crossings, making it much easier for everyone to move around in a relaxed, welcoming and festive atmosphere.”

She added: “This ties in with our broader aims to make Edinburgh a more attractive, people-friendly place, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport.

“It’s crucial that we also maintain transport links for the people who live and work here and we have been working closely with residents and businesses to make sure these measures allow them to continue with their usual daily routines.”

An Underbelly spokesperson said, “We welcome the decision to close Waverley Bridge during the busiest periods in the city centre.

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“During these busy times, on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 5pm it will allow us to make the primary east end entrance to East Princes Street Gardens on the corner of Market Street and Waverley Bridge, where crowd management controls including queuing systems will be in place to manage entry.”