Main infrastructure contractor Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN) and Morrison Utility Services (MUS) – which is clearing any below-ground obstructions along the route - stopped work at the end of March to comply with government guidance during the coronavirus outbreak.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed at a briefing on 28th May that site preparation could begin this week as the first step in a phased return to work.
Plans have been drawn up in line with Scottish government safety guidelines and industry best practice to ensure the safety of workers and the public.
In advance of the main work beginning, works to prepare construction sites and project offices will include the introduction of infection control stations, additional water stations and toilet facilities for workers within the site and in the project office, and ensuring that all office workspaces and facilities are set up appropriately. Other works on site will include the removal of the protective in-fill material that was used to ensure the work site remained safe and protected during the shutdown.
Measures to protect workers’ health will include daily briefings, continuous on-site inspections and the introduction of health and safety ‘ambassadors'. The numbers of workers on site will be kept to a minimum and the majority of project office staff will continue to work from home.
The project team has been working on plans to mitigate the impact of the enforced shutdown as a result of Covid-19 on the programme and budget. Despite the current circumstances, the project continues to operate within its £207.3m budget, said the council.
Council leader Adam McVey said: “The safety of workers and the public is of utmost importance during this time and all works will be undertaken in compliance with the government’s guidance on construction working and to allow physical distancing.
“The tram team have put in an enormous amount of hard work with our contractors to take us through this challenging period and it will take some time to fully remobilise sites. The implications of Covid-19 are unlikely to be understood for some time but we continue to work to mitigate the impact as we progress with the project.”
SFN director Alejandro Mendoza Monfort said that the team is delighted that it can restart its works on the Trams to Newhaven project. “We understand the importance that this project will have for Edinburgh’s future and are committed to ensuring that we continue to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus 19. During this pause period, concentrated efforts have continued behind the scenes to develop and test a series of robust systems and procedures, whilst ensuring the highest level of health, safety and wellbeing can be provided.”