Balfour Beatty announces sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP Global

Balfour Beatty has just announced the sale of its professional services division, Parsons Brinckerhoff, to WSP Global for a cash consideration of US$1,352.5 million (£820 million). The sale price assumes cash of US$110 million (£67 million) is retained within Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The sale is conditional upon the approval of Balfour Beatty’s shareholders, and the transaction is also subject to certain antitrust and other approvals. Completion of the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff is expected in Q4 2014.

WSP’s press announcement states: “Since the companies possess complementary skills and serve complementary segments and geographies with limited overlap in operations, the acquisition is also aligned with WSP’s growth strategy of:

· capitalizing on opportunities in countries where it has a strong and well-established presence, such as the UK;

· enhancing its position in industrialized regions where the Corporation [WSP] is established but does not have a significant presence, such as the US and Australia;

· expanding its offerings and capabilities in its core segments, such as buildings and infrastructure, to increase its expertise and offerings worldwide; and

· developing the energy segment, while further growing its project and program management services offering.”

Pierre Shoiry, President and CEO of WSP, comments: “We are pleased to be joining forces with a firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff’s long-standing reputation and know-how as we expect this transaction to create an industry leader, with the ability to deliver more expertise and services to our client base across the world.

“We expect to successfully reach the strategic objectives we had set for 2015, by creating one of the largest global pure-play professional services firms in our industry.”

George J Pierson, President and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff adds: “This tremendously exciting transaction significantly expands opportunities for our employees and services to our clients. The compatibility of our respective cultures is strengthened by the complementary technical skills we each offer.”

Once the acquisition is completed, Pierson will become an executive member of the board of directors of WSP, ensuring his active role in the organisation as well as continuity and integration at the highest level.

By Gail Taylor

Does rejection of ‘Boris Island’ spell an ill wind for London?

Copyright Heathrow Airports Ltd

Copyright Heathrow Airports Ltd

Controversy over the proposed location of a new runway serving London soared to new heights this week after the government’s Airports Commission rejected plans for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary to the east of UK capital.

The plans – dubbed ‘Boris Island’ are the brainchild of Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who has reacted furiously to the decision that now leaves proposals for a new third runway at Heathrow as clear front-runner on the Commission’s short-list. A new second runway at London Gatwick is another, less favoured contender, as is an extension of an existing runway at Heathrow.

Airports Commission chair, Sir Howard Davies, says of the decision: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.

“While we recognise the need for a hub airport…there are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary. The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount. Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70 to £90 billion with much greater expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total.”

Copyright Foster + Partners How the thwarted Thames Estuary hub airport might have looked.

Copyright Foster + Partners
How the thwarted Thames Estuary hub airport might have looked.

Where the wind blows

In a column written for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Johnson rails against the fact that the way ahead now appears to be open for expansion of Heathrow after the country’s upcoming general elections in May 2015. (The UK government vowed not to bring in the Heathrow option during its current term of office.)

He warns: “Heathrow is already by far the noisiest airport in Europe, about a hundred times worse than Paris. A third runway will mean that there are more than a million people in the city affected by noise pollution of more than 55db – well over a third of all the victims of such aircraft noise in the whole of Europe.

“It will mean more of the medical problems associated with such pollution – stress, heart disease, etc; more struggling in school; vastly more road congestion and pollution in west London.”

Heathrow does indeed find itself in the unusual position of being a major airport situated to the west of a city, with the UK’s prevailing westerly winds blowing air pollution straight into the lungs of the capital. And its asthma and allergy suffers.

And Johnson is not the only one upset. Architects, Foster + Partners, worked alongside him to create the masterplan for the Thames Estuary proposals.

In a strong statement issued to the press, practice founder, Lord Foster, asserts: “I predict that Londoners will be scathing in their condemnation of today’s [this week's] announcement, when confronted with the inevitability of the blighting influence of Heathrow – the risks, noise and environmental impact of overflying London – and its inability to cope with predicted growth.”

He describes adding a third runway at Heathrow as ‘merely a short term fix’ that will inevitably lead to a fourth runway in order to maintain international hub status.

He then draws a contentious conclusion: “The pattern of the most competitive emerging economies is to replace the old and obsolete and go boldly forward with the new, an opportunity today’s decision denies this country. The outcome of this process calls into question the validity of the Commission.”

Foster + Partners also claims that the Commission significantly overestimated the costs, and that independent estimates show that the new hub would cost ‘about £5 billion more when compared to expansion at Heathrow and would be faster to build’.

Hoping to befriend Boris…

However, not everyone is unhappy that Heathrow’s plans appear to be getting closer to take-off. The airport’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, comments: “We have always agreed with the Mayor that Britain needs a successful hub airport to compete in the global race for jobs and growth. Heathrow is now the only hub left in the race. We would like to work with the Mayor to deliver Heathrow expansion in a way that benefits the whole country while reducing noise impacts for local people compared to today.”

Holland-Kaye wrote an open letter to Johnson echoing these sentiments, just prior to the Commission’s announcement on 2nd September. In the same letter, he also makes the case against Gatwick, stating: “Gatwick is different, it serves the short-haul and holiday market. We have nothing against Gatwick but you have rightly identified that its claim that it can deliver the same benefits as a hub airport is ‘a sham, a snare and a delusion’. I agree with you when you say a second runway at Gatwick would not make a bean of difference to the global connectivity we need.”

Copyright Heathrow Airports Ltd How Heathrow would look if a third runway is built.

Copyright Heathrow Airports Ltd
How Heathrow would look if a third runway is built.

However, in this fiercely polarised debate there are those who robustly back Gatwick. The point-to-point airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, argues: “We believe Gatwick has the strongest case. It is the only option left on the table that can be delivered with more certainty than either of the Heathrow options, and it can be delivered without the significant environmental impacts expansion at Heathrow would inflict on London. It can be delivered faster than any other option, and at low cost and low risk.

“Furthermore, expanding Gatwick will ensure the UK is served by two successful world-class airports. It can liberate hub capacity at Heathrow and open up the opportunities for affordable long haul travel to emerging markets for the benefit of everyone.”

An article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper seems to agree, venturing: “Let’s not assume (at least yet) that a giant stitch-up to favour Heathrow is the inevitable outcome. In a world of necessary compromises, Gatwick still looks the least bad option.

“The argument that the UK must have a single ‘hub’ airport – meaning Heathrow – to make flights to deepest China viable has always seemed wildly overstated. Heathrow struggles to explain why so many short-haul holiday flights, carrying few transit passengers, still crowd its terminals. If we must have a new runway, Gatwick, the only airport capable of providing Heathrow with stiffer competition, looks the best answer’.

GATWICK TWO RUNWAYS

Time for action

Whatever final choice the Airports Commission makes next year, the urgency is indisputable. A report, The Nub is the Hub, from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), also issued in the run-up to 2nd September, cautions: “With the UK’s hub capacity at Heathrow already full, the UK is falling behind on direct flights to emerging markets.

“The report highlights that by drawing heavily on transfer passengers, the UK’s EU competitors with their own unconstrained capacity are creating connections to new destinations within the BRICS such as Xiamen in China and Recife in Brazil, as well as links to the major markets of the future, like Peru, Indonesia, Taipei and Chile.”

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, concludes: “The [UK] Chancellor has set businesses ambitious targets for increasing the UK’s exports, and there is simply no way of achieving these goals without upping our game in emerging markets.”

By Gail Taylor

Groundbreaking new composite bridge swings into place in the UK

Photo © Atkins

Photo © Atkins

What is believed to be the first bridge of its type in the UK has just been installed over the River Frome at the village of Frampton Cotterell, near Bristol. It is scheduled to open for use by the public this September.

The new composite road bridge has been designed by global consultancy, Atkins, which has adapted technology normally used to build advanced passenger aircraft. The wider project team has also included The National Composites Centre, Bristol University, CTS Bridges, Fibreline Composites and SKM.

Photo © Atkins

Photo © Atkins

Atkins hopes the bridge could help pave the way for a new generation of structures which cost up to 25% less than their concrete and steel equivalents over their lifetime, and, if adopted more widely, could save millions of pounds in installation and maintenance costs. Western Europe currently spends around £5 billion per year of taxpayers’ money maintaining and rebuilding its tens of thousands of bridges.

Composite bridges are equally as strong as steel or concrete bridges but lighter in weight, making them easier to transport from the offsite factory at which they are assembled.   They are also quicker to install, reducing the need for lengthy road and railway closures and the knock on disruption for residents and businesses these cause.

This type of bridge will also be more resilient against frost, extreme temperatures and de-icing salts, which will significantly reduce the frequency of maintenance checks and the cost of maintenance over the bridge’s lifetime by at least 50 per cent.

Illustrative costs of composite bridges versus more traditional materials

Illustrative costs of composite bridges versus more traditional materials

James Henderson, senior consultant at Atkins, explains, “The new bridge at Frampton Cotterell is at the forefront of an exciting new phase in civil engineering techniques. The strength and lightweight nature of composites have allowed commercial aircraft to fly further, faster and more economically.

“Having gained this knowledge and expertise, we wanted to see where else the technology could be used to deliver similar benefits. Our initial idea was to look at bridge building, a form of engineering which has largely been using the same methods for centuries.”

Atkins is an official engineering services provider to the UK’s National Composites Centre and is looking into the advantages of using composites across other engineering projects including London Underground train doors, nuclear infrastructure, gantries and catenaries and wind turbines.

By Gail Taylor 

Written By Newsfeed 
August 29, 2014 12:58 pm
Posted In Bridges

The Panama Canal: 100 years old and still growing…

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Click on image to enlarge

The Panama Canal has just celebrated a centenary of providing an essential shortcut for ships sailing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

It was hoped the on-going Panama Canal Expansion project would be completed in time to coincide with the centenary, but strikes and cost overruns have pushed back the scheduled completion date to 2016.

The $3.2 bn expansion began in 2007 to allow the transit of modern-day Post-Panamax super-ships through three gigantic new locks. These vessels now dwarf the Panamax ships that were once considered huge themselves.

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The first ship to traverse the 50-mile long Canal 100 years ago was the SS Ancon. In 2010, the Fortune Plum became the 1,000,000th vessel to make the journey.

Today, the Canal is estimated to carry about 3 per cent of the world’s maritime cargo, representing in the region of $270 bn’s worth of trade. Ships take around 10 hours to make the passage, shortening journeys by thousands of miles and dramatically reducing fuel costs.

Graphic courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

Click on image to enlarge – Graphic courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

Marking the centenary, the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper lists a number of interesting facts about the Panama Canal, for example that it ‘connects 144 maritime routes calling at 1,700 ports in 160 countries’.

The article goes on to report that ‘the most common cargo vessels to use the waterway each year are container ships (3,103), dry bulk carriers (2,903) and tankers (2,468)’.

Written By Newsfeed 
August 21, 2014 21:04 pm
Posted In Uncategorized

First pile marks start of marine construction works on Aqaba LNG project, Jordan

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Netherlands-based BAM International has successfully driven in the first pile at the new LNG (liquid natural gas) jetty in Aqaba, Jordan. The project is proceeding as scheduled and hand-over to client, the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), is expected in April 2015.
 
The scope of work for the new LNG jetty includes a 100-metre trestle on steel piles, a concrete off-loading platform of 20 x 20 metres, four mooring dolphins and two breasting dolphins.

The project further comprises a 700-metre long gas pipeline to the shore tie-in point, as well as associated control equipment and instrumentation.

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

Image courtesy of BAM International bv

The development of the terminal area, including roads and two buildings, also forms part of the contract. The substructure works for the terminal building are nearing completion, and the substructure works for the administration building have commenced.

Together with its sister company, BAM Contractors from Ireland, and its Jordanian joint-venture partner MAG Engineering & Contracting Co, BAM International was originally awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction of the LNG jetty in November 2013. BAM Infraconsult is involved in the design of the civil works.
 
This is the third project for BAM in Aqaba. The joint venture has already successfully completed the New Port in Aqaba for the same client earlier this year and the extension of the Container Terminal for APMT and ADC in 2013.

By Gail Taylor

Written By Newsfeed 
August 19, 2014 15:53 pm
Posted In ENERGY, Pipelines

Consultation begins on new £1.3tn infrastructure proposal for London

A new report from the Greater London Authority (GLA) has revealed the capital’s strategic infrastructure investment requirements to 2050. Consultancy, Arup has been working closely with the GLA to draw up the £1.3 trillion plan, entitled “London Infrastructure Plan 2050 – A Consultation”.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has just launched the report – representing the start of consultation – in Barking, East London, declaring that its contents were “a real wake-up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half a century”.

With London’s population growing by 2,000 people every eight days, Johnson is concerned that massive investment in infrastructure is needed in order for London to keep its place among the elite of world cities.

The report examines seven sectors from transport, waste and energy to open spaces and broadband, and spells out the infrastructure needs of London over the next thirty-five years to cope with a growing population.

Housing and transport combined represent nearly 80 per cent of the investment needed to 2050. Between them they are estimated to have a funding gap of close to £135 billion.

New rail infrastructure comprises a major element of the plans. Featuring in the proposals are blueprints for a new orbital metro-style railway around London, which according the UK’s Guardian newspaper has been dubbed the “R25” in City Hall.

zonethreeorbital

A series of new river crossings in addition to those already currently planned is also proposed, along with further Crossrail lines.

Alexander Jan, project director at Arup, commented, “Investment activity will be needed on an industrial scale not seen since Victorian times. But it is not all about tunnels, railways and power transmission.

“Cleaner air, natural flood protection and places for Londoners to walk and cycle are central to the city’s quality of life and urban sustainability. And a major increase in housing provision would address one of the most pressing needs of Londoners.”

A consultation on the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 will now run for three months and the Mayor is expected to publish a final report in early 2015.

By Gail Taylor

Written By Newsfeed 
August 01, 2014 13:09 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Gates for third new lock reach Panama Canal expansion site

Photo courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

Photo courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal expansion has reached another important milestone with the transfer of the first gates to the new locks complex on the Atlantic side. The first of the four gigantic gates that will serve this, the third lock, has now been installed.

The gates left Trieste in Italy by ship on 18 May 2014, and have now joined four others that were delivered during the summer last year. The remaining eight gates planned for the project are scheduled to be delivered by next year.

Italian-Spanish consortium GUPC (Groupo Unidos per el Canal SA) is in charge of the project, with MWH Global appointed to lead the design with TetraTech (USA) and Iv-Infra (Netherlands). The gates have been built in Italy by the Salini-Impregilo group.

Photo courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

Photo courtesy of Panama Canal Authority

Each of the lock gates is 57.6m long, 11m wide, 30m tall and weighs in at a whopping 3,000 tons. Instead of being hinged, the new gates – which are hollow – will slide, opening or closing in a time of 4 to 5 minutes.

To date, about 77% of the work on the expanded Panama Canal has been completed. Although it was hoped that work would be completed this year to coincide with the Panama Canal’s 100th anniversary, it is now projected that the enhanced canal will open in 2016.

Once open, it will allow the passage of Post-Panamax ships between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Post-Panamax vessels are nearly 400m long, and capable of transporting 13,000 containers – nearly triple current capacity.

By Gail Taylor

Written By Newsfeed 
July 24, 2014 11:03 am
Posted In Ports, TRANSPORT

Recognition for Australia’s colossal new reverse-osmosis desalination plant

3002 vdp1

Located near Wonthaggi in Victoria, Australia, the Victorian Desalination Project (VDP) has just been awarded the coveted Sir Osborn McCutcheon Victorian Architecture Award for Commercial Architecture 2014 by the Australian Institute of Architects. Working on the $3.5bn PPP project – one of the largest in the world – were peckvonhartel, ARM Architecture and landscape architects ASPECT Studios. Work was completed in 2013.

Also heavily involved were engineers Beca and Parsons Brinkerhoff who formed a joint venture to deliver engineering design services for client, Thiess Degremont Joint Venture (contracted by AquaSure).

The plant is one of the largest reverse-osmosis desalination plants in the world, capable of supplying up to 150bn litres of water a year – more than a third of Melbourne’s annual water needs – with capability to expand to 200bn litres a year.

According to Beca, the VDP is ‘the most technically advanced, environmentally sensitive and energy efficient desalination facility in Australia’. Its concept is based on a ‘green line’ that runs through the site, moving from a natural landscape element to a constructed dune formation, a living green roof (the largest in the southern hemisphere), a footprint encompassing buildings and, ultimately, a restored landscape within a coastal park.

The Beca/Parsons Brinkerhoff joint venture provided engineering design and construction phase services for the reverse osmosis desalination plant, inlet and outlet tunnels, marine structures, 52-mile (84km) water transfer pipeline and 54-mile (87-kilometre) underground power line to supply power to the plant.

Locating the underground power supply in the same easement as the transfer pipeline minimised construction time and maximised the use of space.

The plant has a very small footprint, taking up just 94 acres (38 hectares) of the 650-acre (263-hectare) site. The remaining 556 acres (225 hectares) are an ecologically sustainable coastal park with new habitat for local fauna, including freshwater wetlands, woodland and coastal heath landscape.

3002 vdp3

The underground pipeline connects regional communities to drinking water from Melbourne’s Cardinia Reservoir or the desalination plant via delivery points along the pipeline, as and when required. The two-way desalination pipeline connects areas in South Gippsland and Western Port to the Melbourne water network.

In September 2012, drinking water began to flow from the Victorian Desalination Plant through the underground pipeline and into Melbourne’s Cardinia Reservoir as part of the project’s commissioning process.

Written By Newsfeed 
July 08, 2014 11:44 am
Posted In Uncategorized

General Electric to buy Alstom’s energy business for $17bn

The Board of French engineering company, Alstom has given the green light to US energy giant General Electric to purchase its energy business at a price of $17bn. In order to protect the country’s interests and facilitate the deal, the French government will purchase a 20% stake in Alstom from its main shareholder, Bouygues.

Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also submitted acquisition proposals, but General Electric’s proposal won unanimous approval from Alstom directors. General Electric will now acquire Alstom’s power grid business, renewable operations, and nuclear steam turbines to form three joint ventures. In doing so, it hopes to open up its operations in China and Africa.

Conversely, General Electric (GE) is to sell its railway signal business to Alstom, who are the manufacturers of France’s TGV high speed trains. The deal is expected to close in 2015.

General Electric’s Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt said of the deal: “We will now move to the next phase of the Alstom alliance. We look forward to working with the Alstom team to make a globally competitive power and grid enterprise. We also look forward to working with the French government, employees and shareholders of Alstom. As we have said, this is good for France, GE and Alstom.”

According to a Reuters report, the two companies already have history. In Alstom’s home town of Belfort, 2,500 of its employees have worked for more than a decade ‘building electrical turbines just a few dozen metres away from a GE plant, whose workers they meet each day at lunchtime in a shared canteen’.

The article continues: “GE’s history in Belfort stretches back even further, to 1928, when one of its subsidiaries, Thomson-Houston, merged with the Socieate Alsacienne de Construction Mecanique to form Alssthom, then spelled with an ‘h’”.

Written by Gail Taylor

Edinburgh’s new trams on track at last!

Lesley Hinds, transport convener for Edinburgh City Council discusses the lessons to be learned from one of Scotland’s most controversial – and delayed – new public transport projects. The city’s new tram system finally opened three years late on 31 May 2014 and is now operating between York Place in the city centre and Edinburgh Airport.

Credit: Edinburgh Trams One of Edinburgh's 27 new trams makes its inaugural journey. Each cost around £2 million.

Credit: Edinburgh Trams
One of Edinburgh’s 27 new trams makes its inaugural journey. Each cost around £2 million.

Beset with disruption, bitter disputes, and angry traders, the project was not only late but came in at double the budget and with only half the originally planned network being realised. So great has been the outcry for answers as to what went wrong that last week Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, ordered a judge-led inquiry to investigate.

In the meantime we spoke to Councillor Lesley Hinds, who shared her personal views, not only on what went wrong, but how in the past two years the ailing project has been dramatically turned around. Some of her insights are gold dust to other cities thinking of commissioning a new tram system whilst avoiding the same pitfalls.

To start with, as is so often the case, the news isn’t all bad. Cllr Hinds reports that in their first week on the tracks, the new trams have attracted some 130,000 passengers. On one day alone 27,000 people used the new transport system (although admittedly it was partly down to boy band, One Direction, performing in town).

Credit: Edinburgh Trams Crowds throng to be aboard the first tram journey.

Credit: Edinburgh Trams
Crowds throng to be aboard the first tram journey.

Edinburgh’s tram system was granted funding by the Scottish Parliament to the tune of £500 million in 2007. The City Council formed an arms-length company called Transport in Edinburgh (TIE) to manage the project. TIE then appointed Bilfinger Berger/Siemens as main contractor.

Off the rails

Things soon went badly wrong and a protracted and entrenched dispute arose between the two. At one point, the roads were up and the contractor’s tools were down, while local businesses complained of resulting financial losses and even closure.

We asked Cllr Hinds what caused the problems. “In my personal opinion there were three reasons. The first and main one was the contract [between TIE and Bilfinger Berger/Siemens] which I believe was flawed. It was not detailed enough.

“In my experience, with any large project, if you want to ensure its success, all the details must be sorted out, everything must be tied down, before you sign a contract with any contractor. What happened in this case is that the contract then started to change after it had been signed. So I think there are many lessons to be learned from that.”

Cllr Hinds cites political conflict as the second reason, as at that time local government was a coalition between Liberal Democrats who were pro the Edinburgh tram project, and the SNP who were against. This, she feels, meant that no-one had outright control.

And it didn’t stop at local level. Cllr Hinds continues, “Thirdly, there was a change in administration of the Scottish government where the SNP came into minority control following a vote. Labour, Conservative, Lib Dems, and Greens voted to approve the £500 million to be spent on the Edinburgh trams, carried against the minority SNP administration. As a result, the Scottish government then withdrew the Transport Scotland government agency’s experts and advisors from the project. So what you had was the government signing off the money but then having no direct supervision or input.”

A change in approach

After all the stalling, the project did finally gather steam over the past two years. We asked Cllr Hinds how and why this happened, and, unsurprisingly, it all came down to improved communication. “About two years ago [around the same time Cllr Hinds became the new transport convener] a new chief executive, Sue Bruce, came into the council as a new appointment. One of the tasks she was given by all the councillors was obviously to sort out the tram project, which had come to a total impasse.

“She convened a meeting. Key councillors and the contractor sat down together for at least a week and they came up with a proposal that they both signed up for. That mediation has led to a very, very structured process of any decision-making or dealing any disputes on either side. If there’s a dispute there is a clear way of taking it through process at regular twice-weekly meetings. It stops things festering. It’s put on the table and gets resolved.”

Two years ago, Cllr Hinds was given a revised budget that raised the figure to £776 million* – which has been kept to – and a revised schedule to open the tramline in summer 2014. As she points out, they’ve managed to open slightly earlier, and she credits the strict structure and process they now work within for this.

tran-route

Credit: Edinburgh Trams
Route map

Looking forwards

And what of the retailers and businesses that suffered along the way? Might things start to improve for them now? Cllr Hinds says, “Yes. There is evidence that people are already starting to come back into the city centre. Even those that didn’t want the tram initially are thinking that now it’s here they’ll use it and just get on with it and seem reasonably happy.

“However, you can’t underestimate the damage done to the reputation of the city of Edinburgh.” To help address this, a £1 million campaign named ‘This is Edinburgh’ was launched last February to promote the city’s attractions and encourage people back into the centre after the tram disruption.

Finally, we asked Cllr Hinds what her advice would be to other cities considering a tram system. She replies, “Listen to others who have done it, find out and learn. There will always be disruption when you’re putting in an on-road system, so think about ways of mitigating that and keeping businesses and people on-side. And bear in mind, some people will just be anti-tram whatever happens, although once they’re up and running that can change completely!” Nice in the south of France and Ireland’s capital, Dublin are both good examples of this particular phenomenon.

“But probably the most important point, to me, is the contract – communication between contractor and client – and to get all-party support if possible. Manchester didn’t face anything like the challenges we’ve had to because they had backing from all sides from the outset.”

* Edinburgh City Council financed the additional funds through a loan it will pay interest on for the next 30 years. Taking into account this interest, the total cost of the tram project is estimated to be nearer £1 billion.

Written by Gail Taylor

Written By Newsfeed 
June 10, 2014 12:04 pm
Posted In Rail