Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 18:20 UK

Tram bosses apologise for 'chaos'

The Mound junction (red) Blue areas parts of Princes Street closed to traffic
The Mound junction and parts of Princes Street are closed to traffic

Tram developers have apologised for delays on Edinburgh's city centre roads during the first day of road works at the Mound.

The city centre was gridlocked during the morning rush hour with buses being held up for an hour and some passengers getting off to walk to work.

Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) said temporary traffic measures had not been "fully working".

Princes Street is closed to traffic for six months while pipes are moved.

Services which pass through the busy junction are either being diverted via George Street or Market Street.

Full pedestrian access is being maintained during the project.

The utility diversions prepare the area for the laying of tram infrastructure on Princes Street, which is scheduled to commence in January 2009.

I had to walk into work because of the gridlock, another colleague walked in from the Mound and another got stuck at Haymarket
Alan Haggart
Bus passenger
Willie Gallagher, Tie executive chairman, said: "I would like to apologise for the delays to both bus passengers and drivers today as a result of the introduction of the temporary traffic management measures to undertake the utility works around the Mound.

"Despite careful modelling and planning it was clear by the morning rush hour that the temporary traffic measures were not fully working.

"Responsive action was taken by Tie, Carillion and their specialist traffic contractors, CEC, the police and Lothian Buses to improve the immediate traffic congestion.

"During the day senior management representatives of all these organisations met to review and agree additional improvements which are being implemented as from Wednesday night over the next 24 hours."

The measures include buses returning westbound along Princes Street until further notice, additional driver information signs, additional road markings, unloading and waiting restrictions on both sides of George Street and additional traffic wardens during peak hours.

Red lights

Alan Haggart, 43, a project manager from Edinburgh, was forced to get off a bus in Lothian Road on his way to work on Wednesday morning.

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "I had to walk into work because of the gridlock, another colleague walked in from the Mound and another got stuck at Haymarket.

"On Princes Street some lights were stuck on red so buses were having to drive through them rather than sit still.

"A bus driver said there wasn't enough space to let two buses turn into Market Street from the Mound.

"The buses know this but the cars don't, so buses are only able to turn when another bus turns up and lets them.

"Not a good start to work that is expected to last for six months."

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