Edinburgh Trams’ Newhaven line remains on course with milestone concrete pour


The concrete pour on Tower Bridge

Contracting joint venture Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN) is currently working on 12 separate sections across the route and the concrete pour took place on the bridge deck of Tower Bridge on Ocean Drive in Edinburgh.

Taking approximately eight hours to complete, the pour involved 16 operatives from subcontractor Beattie FRC, 130 cubic metres of concrete in 19 loads and 500 square metres of finishing works.

This was a dual pour of 82 metres, with two concrete pumps, equating to 164 linear meters of single-track slab being poured. Hard landscaping works over Tower Bridge will now begin, as well as further track works eastwards towards Tower Place. 

Construction on Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven started in November 2019. The full scheme is valued at £207.3m and – in contrast to the somewhat notorious initial network which saw contractor Bilfinger Berger mired in controversy and delay – this section remains on schedule to be in operation in spring 2023.

The 4.7km route will have eight tram stops and will complete the existing tram network, which currently connects the airport with the city centre, to the northeast of the city.

To date 84% of track slab has been laid (almost 4,000 metres), all utility diversions have been carried out and main construction work is complete on three new tram stops at Constitution Street, McDonald Road and Ocean Terminal, with works progressing well on the Balfour Street and Foot of the Walk stops. SFN has also installed 74 overhead line equipment poles, 35% of the total along the route and more than 4,000 metres of drainage infrastructure.

SFN project director Maria Ortega said: “We continue to make excellent progress on this project on behalf of our client, the City of Edinburgh Council, and this concrete pour milestone is our latest major achievement. A concrete pour may look like a simple task from the outside, however there are so many different disciplines involved to ensure that it is undertaken in a safe and timely manner to deliver a high-quality end product.

“As contractors, SFN has brought extensive experience in the light rail sector to this project. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are proud of the progress we have made by working successfully alongside our partners, supply chain and client. We look forward to this line being operational in spring 2023.”

Steve Jackson, project director from Turner & Townsend, said: “This is the third major concrete pour to take place on the project following the laying of track on one half of the busy thoroughfare on Leith Walk in February. As we enter the final phase of construction works to deliver the Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven line, achievements such as this concrete pour begin to bring the project together in real life and allow people to see the positive transformational impact this system will have for them.”

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