Tenders for the ‘Trams to Newhaven’ project were received in early September and evaluations are ongoing. The original aim had been to make a final decision and - assuming a go-ahead - sign the contract before the end of this year.
The proposed new line would run for 4.7km, connecting Leith and Newhaven to the current end of the Edinburgh tram line at York Place. The capital cost was put at £165m last year. Four bidders were shortlisted in March: BAM Colas Rail JV, Dragados, Farrans Sacyr Neopul JV and Sisk Steconfer JV.
“The final stage in this process is to seek best and final offers from the bidders and to clarify specific elements of the bids received, which will then be used to complete the final business case for consideration by elected members,” said the council.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We have adopted a very thorough and robust process for the Trams to Newhaven project throughout, learning crucial lessons from what went wrong previously. We have been very clear from the outset that we will not bring forward the final business case for tram until we have vigorously tested the cost and time estimates with the market."
Councillor Karen Doran added: "It is important for the Council to have sufficient time to undertake due diligence and comprehensive evaluation of the final submissions and we have therefore decided to take extra time to allow this process to take place. We have also asked officials to extend the ongoing consultation period on the project design and plans until 11 November to ensure maximum participation and we look forward to the final business case being presented to councillors for a decision in March 2019."
The council has estimated that the tram line to Newhaven would transport almost 14 million passengers in its first year of operation, more than double the current patronage on the Edinburgh Airport to York Place service.