Cars jam in tram ‘sham’


TRAM works have caused yet more chaos for Edinburgh commuters after four lanes of city centre traffic were reduced to one.

Huge traffic jams built up for the second day on Tuesday as a result of the installation of cabling at the junction of Princes Street and Lothian Road.

Council chiefs have not provided an alternative route for motorists – and warned that the mayhem will persist until April.

Monday night’s rush-hour even created a 300-yard jam of buses on Princes Street, which is closed to cars.

Two lanes coming from the famous street merge with two lanes from Charlotte Square. The new roadworks now squeeze the traffic into one lane.

Work in the area is due to finish on March 15, but Edinburgh Council confirmed a further six weeks will be needed to complete changes to the intersection, including road and footpath surfacing, kerbing, signals and traffic islands.

Ken Houston, a journalist and public relations manager, who arrived in the city centre by bus just after 9am yesterday, said funnelling four lanes into one at the major intersection had created a “complete, total shambles”.



He said: “There was a horrendous traffic jam, and when I got off the bus for half of Princes Street west-bound, it was nose-to-tail with buses.

“I work in George Street. It wasn’t as bad as Princes Street, but the final block from Castle Street on to South Charlotte Street was also nose-to-tail.”

Passengers took to social media to voice their frustration.

Abbey Moffat tweeted: “Good to see traffic is a total nightmare on Princes Street west bound! Well done trams!”

A Lothian Buses spokesman said vehicles had encountered delays during peak hour, but it was too early to gauge any impact on timetables.

A nearby pedestrian crossing will be moved in a bid to ease congestion, but a council spokeswoman added: “There’s no diversion signs up as such because you don’t need a diversion, you can still go that way.

“But we’d just ask motorists to be aware that there are works going on there and it’s maybe going to add a little bit more time to their journey.”

A spokesman for motoring group AA, Luke Bosdet, said letting drivers know about traffic disruptions was crucial.

He said: “Hopefully this is just a one-off, but if parts of the city grind to a halt because there’s no warning of roadworks or disruption that could be forecast, it’s not only bad news for the council, but also for the city as a whole.

“There’s no excuse if arrangements aren’t made to try and direct traffic around different routes.”

A council spokesman said: “We appreciate that this work may unfortunately cause a degree of disruption to traffic and we will continue to monitor traffic flows and, where possible, take action to mitigate congestion.”