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Balfour Beatty to create cross-Edinburgh cycle link

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Balfour Beatty has been appointed to create a walking, wheeling and cycling route that will link the west and East of Edinburgh.

The £13m City Centre West to East Cycle Link & Street Improvements project (CCWEL) will connect Roseburn to Leith Walk with a direct cycle route as well as enhancing streets for those walking, wheeling and spending time there.

Edinburgh City Council’s finance and resources committee approved recommendations to award the construction contract to Balfour Beatty with work on the scheme set to begin in January 2022 and take approximately 18 months.

Edinburgh Cycle Link

It has taken a number of years to get to this stage, so we’re delighted that we’re now on the cusp of delivering the CCWEL route.

Councillor Rob Munn, finance and resources convener

Councillor Munn continued: "This is a milestone project for Edinburgh, providing a segregated cycleway connecting key parts of our existing network to and through the city centre, with significant improvements to the streetscape along the way.

As our neighbours Glasgow prepare to host the COP26 summit the need to support clean, carbon neutral transport is more relevant than ever, and this scheme will provide a safe, accessible walking, cycling and wheeling link between the east and west of the city. Not only will this help us to limit our impact on the environment, but it will give people the opportunity to experience the associated benefits to health, wellbeing and our purses.”

We want to support people to consider alternatives to private car journeys, but to do this we need to provide safe, direct routes for walking, wheeling and cycling. CCWEL will do just that.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, finance and resources vice convener

Councillor Griffiths continued: “The council is working on a range of exciting, ambitious projects to transform the city which will make it easier for people to get around by foot, wheel, bike and public transport, as well as creating a much more welcoming environment to spend time in. This is the kind of change needed if we are to become a truly sustainable city for future generations.”

Preliminary designs for CCWEL were approved in December 2016 following engagement with the public and have since been subject to the relevant Statutory Orders.

The route, which is split into three sections, will include two-way segregated cycleways from Roseburn to Haymarket connecting to one-way segregated cycleways on each side of Melville Street. Two-way cycleways connecting George Street with Picardy Place via St David Street, Queen Street and York Place will also be introduced.

The project is also designed to create a more welcoming environment for people walking or wheeling through changes to public spaces along the route, as well as new pedestrian crossings, improved pavements and street trees.

CCWEL will be principally funded by Sustrans with additional funding from the Scottish government and the council’s transport budget. To minimise disruption, the programmed resurfacing of the A8 will be carried out alongside CCWEL construction, funded separately by the council.