Work will continue off-site - to strict social distancing guidelines - including design, planning and scheduling, as well as drawing up a remobilisation strategy for returning to the site once restrictions are lifted.
The council said that construction will stop this week to protect the safety of workers and residents during the coronavirus outbreak. Other major infrastructure schemes being carried out by the council across Edinburgh are currently under urgent review in light of UK and Scottish government guidance.
The council’s decision to instruct contractors Morrison Utility Services (MUS) and Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN) to cease site works follows advice from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon that all construction sites should close, unless the project being delivered is essential.
SFN and MUS will make sites on Leith Walk, Constitution Street, Lindsay Road and Ocean Drive safe by the end of the week before shutting down. Following on from shutdown there will be contractors on site as necessary for safety and security checks, in line with current social distancing guidance.
The council said that its project team will also be closely liaising with MUS and SFN to look at ways of mitigating the impact of work stopping on the wider project.
Council leader Adam McVey said: “The health and wellbeing of workers delivering key infrastructure schemes like Trams to Newhaven – and those who live nearby – is of utmost importance to us, which is why we've been working with contractors, to halt work since the Scottish Government guidance was issued.
“Of course, this will impact on the wider project, but nothing is more important than the public’s safety. We will, of course, be working with contractors to mitigate the impact of these necessary actions and carefully planning our strategy for returning to the site once restrictions are lifted.”
SFN project director Alejandro Mendoza said: “We fully back the decision and guidance from the government this week to shut down construction sites during this period of great uncertainty. These are extremely challenging and concerning times for all and we will do what is necessary for our staff and the public to help stop the spread of this virus.”
MUS project director mike Thomson said: “The health of our staff, and the residents and businesses in the local community, is our number one priority so we understand and support the decision to temporarily stop work. We will be working hard over the next few days to make the site safe and secure for the shut-down period.”