Constitution Street tram-construction start

(adapted from an email from the Trams to Newhaven project. Constitution St is not in NTBCC’s area, but NTBCC residents and businesses may wish to know the following.)

The Tram to Newhaven project team is hosting a drop-in event on Thursday 7 November from 12pm – 7.30pm at South Leith Parish Church where residents and businesses can come and meet the team who can answer any queries they might have about the planned works.

The first phase of work to take trams to Newhaven will start on Constitution Street on 18 November 2019.

Construction schedule

Work will begin in two sections of Constitution Street from Monday 18 November 2019. These are:

  1. Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane – scheduled to be completed by Spring 2021
  2. Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place – scheduled to be finished by Autumn 2020.

SFN’s and MUS’s roles will involve excavation of the road to allow utility diversions, tracklaying, installation of tram infrastructure, public realm improvements, and heritage and archaeology works. This includes the Robert Burns statue, situated on Baltic Street, being removed and undergoing restoration works, before being returned once construction is complete. In addition, the South Leith Parish Church wall will be taken down and re-built and the memorials on the inner face of the wall will also be removed and protected so that they can be reinstated when the wall is re-built

Further work will take place between:

  1. Coatfield Lane and Queen Charlotte Street – starting Spring 2021 scheduled to complete Spring 2022.
  2. Constitution Place and Tower Place – starting Autumn 2021, scheduled to complete Summer 2022.

See the map of construction phasing on this post.

Traffic Management

Traffic management arrangements have been approved jointly with members of the city’s Traffic Management Review Panel, including Lothian Buses and the emergency services, and these will be in place from the evening of 15 November 2019. Diversion routes and advanced warning signs will be put in place in the vicinity for information and direction and detailed drawings for these can be found on the website.

Throughout the construction period, access will be maintained to Kirkgate House from Laurie Street and to Coatfield Lane from Queen Charlotte Street. The Bernard Street / Baltic Street, Mitchell Street / Maritime Lane and Queen Charlotte Street road crossings will also remain open. All other sections of Constitution Street will be closed to vehicles.  The plans can be found on the project website.


In order to enable pedestrian access given the narrow layout of Constitution Street and because the road is closed to traffic, and there will be no on-street parking during construction.

Construction Site

From the 18 to 25 November, fencing will be erected in order to establish the construction site and to allow enabling works to take place]. Information boards, directional signage and support for business promotional materials will be displayed from the 25 November onwards. Construction traffic will require access to the site.

During construction communal bins that are currently situated on Constitution Street will be moved to the nearest side street. The regularity of uplifts will be monitored to ensure the area is kept clean and tidy. If you require a bulk uplift, please contact the Council’s waste service in the usual manner.

Lothian buses will be diverting Services 12 and 16 during the construction phase as follows:

  1. Service 12 (towards Seafield) – between Leith Walk and Links Place, buses will be diverted via Duke Street, Academy Street, Wellington Place and John’s Place.
  2. Service 12 (towards city centre) – between Gladstone Place and Leith Walk, buses will be diverted via East Hermitage Place, Vanburgh Place and Duke Street.
  3. Services 16 and N16 – between Leith Walk and Commercial Street, buses will be diverted via Great Junction Street, Henderson Street and The Shore in both directions.

Signage for traffic diversions will be in place from the evening of 15 November and the project will carefully monitor how this is working during the construction period.

Supporting Local Businesses

There will be a Support for Business package in operation, devised in consultation with businesses in the area, which will include a local voucher scheme, an ‘open for business’ campaign across a range of media, a business continuity fund, and free business improvement courses.

A logistics hub to support Constitution Street businesses will be set up on Mitchell Street to help with deliveries and dispatches. Help will also be at hand via the logistics hub for residents expecting large deliveries such as appliances or furniture. Further information can be found on the website.

Leith Walk Enabling Works

Enabling works are also scheduled to get under way on Leith Walk in mid-November to prepare the access lane for traffic ahead of the main construction work, which begins in spring 2020.  The traffic management will be implemented on this section from 18 November 2019. Traffic will continue to flow both ways and bus services will be unaffected, other than some bus stops being moved a short distance in agreement with Lothian Buses.

Considerate Contractor Scheme

SFN and MUS both follow the principles of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which requires a firm focus on outstanding management, efficiency, awareness of local environmental issues, and a genuine consideration for neighbours and the community.

During the time that the above works are being undertaken, all efforts will be made to minimise disruption and inconvenience to residents and businesses as much as possible.