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Dispute hits Edinburgh tram project

Edinburgh’s long-awaited crosscity tram link project has been put on hold because of a dispute
over time and money.

German consortium BCS - comprising Bilfinger Berger, Siemens and CAF - was due to start work on the city’s main thoroughfare, Princes Street, this week.

But client Transport Initiatives Edinburgh said the contractors had tried to impose “unacceptable conditions” as a requirement to begin on site.

A source close to the project said BCS was asking for more time and funding to carry out the work, despite having signed a fixed price contract for £120 million in May last year.

He added: “The consortium was making demands including extra time and money to carry out the work.

“When the original contract was signed, the consortium received money for risk of design changes. Since then the scope has changed slightly, but nothing beyond what is normal for a
construction contract.”

A Bilfinger Berger spokesman said: “As the client failed to meet contractually agreed conditions, and as no agreement has been reached on the resulting additional costs, construction work in Princes Street cannot yet commence.

“Bilfinger Berger advised the client on several occasions that work can only begin when the contractually agreed preliminary services have been completed in full.”

Some reports have suggested the consortium requested additional costs of £80 million, but this has been disputed by Bilfinger Berger.

Carillion remains on site carrying out utility diversion work, and negotiations between TIE and BCS continue.

When work on Princes Street begins, the worksite will take up the width of the road between South Charlotte Street and South St David Street.

During the first week of work, the westbound lane within the worksite will be kept clear and TIE will monitor traffic movement around the city centre.

Once TIE is satisfied that traffic is moving, work will also begin in this lane.

Meanwhile, BSC is going ahead as planned with works on other parts of the project, known as Line 1.

The tram link will connect the city centre with Edinburgh Airport, Edinburgh Park and the Waterfront.

In the future TIE hopes to include other parts of the city including Newington and Liberton, connecting the
may include another connection from the city centre to the shores of Fif e, using the Forth Replacement Crossing.