EDINBURGH’S trams project has come under fresh criticism after it emerged more work is needed to move underground pipes and cables in the city centre.
It has been claimed TIE, the city’s tram firm, were having to re-do work carried out since 2008 which has subsequently been found to be substandard.
The council-run company is searching for a new contractor to carry out the diversions and
“remedial’ works for Scottish Water between the city’s Haymarket and York Place.
They say they will keep disruption to a minimum by diverting the utilities at the same time as laying tracks.TIE had previously claimed the work was all but complete.
According to figures released by TIE earlier this year, 50,000 meters of utilities have been diverted, 97 per cent of the total. But it is understood there are real concerns among contractors about utility work carried out in Shandwick Place and the diversion of water pipes in and around Princes Street.John Carson, a long-standing critic of the project and a former director of maintenance at Network Rail, said:
“Most of this work wasn’t done to the right standard. This new contract means digging up all the areas where the work was contentious. That means digging up between Haymarket and Princes Street.’This goes back to the heady days of Princes Street and TIE being hellbent on getting it open and the rumours that abounded that the subcontractors employed by Carillion were not doing the works to the standard required.’He said there were even suggestions the wrong colour of pipes had been used around Haymarket and in Leith Walk. It was the delays to the utility diversion work which initially led to the contract dispute with Bilfinger Berger.It is understood the German-based company had been promised by TIE they would have
“exclusive licence,’ meaning the streets would be clear of other works.Earlier this year it emerged tram bosses had reached an agreement with construction giant Carillion after secret mediation talks, with the Wolverhampton-based firm seeking extra money after moving thousands of metres of underground utility cables.Carillion ended its association with the tram project in 2009 when tram bosses said around 80 per cent of the utility work had been completed.A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Trams said:
“The majority of this work relates to the outstanding utilities commitment and includes ducting and street lighting. The intention is to carry this out in tandem with the infrastructure on street works to avoid further disruption to the city at a later date.’It will also provide the opportunity to ensure all works carried out to date are suitable with the final design for the overhead line equipment which was not completed at the time the utility works occurred. “