City centre street to be closed to traffic for almost a year
A road which is to house a new shopping centre in Edinburgh is to be closed for almost a year for a £6m upgrade including extensive utility works.
The works, in connection with the £1bn St James Quarter development, are to start after the Edinburgh Festival in September and last for 44 weeks.
Leith street is to be "levelled out", have high-quality paving and be made more pedestrian-friendly.
A new gas main and water drainage system would also be installed.
The road will be closed from Calton Road to Waterloo Place.
Martin Perry, director for development for TH Real Estate, which is developing the new St James Centre, said: "The development team has been working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council to carefully plan the best approach for essential utility works around the Edinburgh St James development.
"Our recommended approach has been supported by the council's city-wide traffic management group, which includes representatives from the council, local transport providers and emergency services.
"These works will allow us to reconfigure and renew the whole Leith Street corridor and help facilitate the wider regeneration of Picardy Place and the East End in a way that minimises disruption for residents, businesses and the travelling public."
He added: "By renewing and enhancing local infrastructure as part of the Edinburgh St James scheme, we are also greatly reducing the requirement for future works and repairs, thereby minimising future disruption around the completed environment.
"The street will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists, with access for emergency services maintained throughout.
"An enhanced diversion route, with increased capacity, will be put in place for all other traffic in order to reduce congestion within the city centre, whilst access to Greenside Row and Calton Road will also be maintained for local businesses and parking."