EDINBURGH’s troubled trams project faces further delays as a result of winter weather, council chiefs have admitted.
Snow and freezing temperatures threaten to disrupt work, further eating into the £34m contingency fund left to finish the court.
More than £15 million of this fund has already been spent in recent months to deal with utility works.
And just over £100m of the scheme’s overall £776m budget is left, with most of the materials and labour costs already paid for.
The trams are due to start running in the summer of 2014, but Edinburgh council bosses have claimed the project could be finished by “early 2014.”
But Chief Executive Sue Bruce admitted in a progress report “there still remain a number of events, including weather and further utility charges” which could mean more spending is needed from the overrun budget.
She said: “It should be noted that certain activities are still to be completed. As a result, all targets within the Client target Programme remain subject to weather conditions.”
But a council insider played down the risks posed by severe weather, saying: “This is talking about a worst case scenario and the worst that could happen is we would lose some gains made in recent months, but the ultimate deadline would remain.”
Scotland and northern Europe could face severe weather this winter due to losses of Arctic Ocean ice.
Jennifer Francis, a leading weather researcher, said: “We can’t make predictions yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see wild extremes this winter.”
Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “I’m very pleased that we are continuing to move in the right direction.
“It’s vital that we build on this progress and, where we can, aim to complete works early.
“We’ll continue to listen to local businesses and residents and we’ll use their feedback to minimise disruption wherever possible.”