Major Improvements To Murrayfield Back Pitches

The back pitches at the home of Scottish Rugby are being transformed in a £2 million project that is linked to flood defences and the development of Edinburgh's tram scheme. When the work is completed, Murrayfield will have three new pitches, plus a state-of-the-art, all-weather, artificial pitch.The back pitches at the home of Scottish Rugby are being transformed in a £2 million project that is linked to flood defences and the development of Edinburgh's tram scheme.

When the work is completed, Murrayfield will have three new pitches, plus a state-of-the-art, all-weather, artificial pitch.

Work began in late summer on the rugby element of the project and, in spite of some weather delays, is due for completion by December.

Usage, however, will have to be monitored carefully, especially in the early life of the new grass pitches and it is likely to be May 2009 before the pitches are in full swing as part of the Martin Currie Festival of Rugby during the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s.

John Litster, Scottish Rugby's Facilities Manager, explained that the flood-lighting columns, irrigation and turf that had been associated with the previous lay-out of the back pitches had been removed in the main.

"That's about 6,000 tonnes of material but that will not go to landfill sites. It will be re-processed and used elsewhere," he said.

_x001C_The project has around 20 to 25 personnel working on a daily basis. In total some 20,000 tonnes of materials are involved in the project. We are currently looking at options on the previous floodlights with a view to them being reused or offered for sale to interested parties,_x001D_ he added.

A new drainage system has been installed and sand from Levenseat quarry in West Lothian has been brought in to form the rootzone layer. Bases of the new flood-lighting columns are currently being installed.

Progress is well under way on the artificial pitch too and turf is due to be laid on the first grass pitch before the end of this month.

The area used to encompass six rugby pitches but the work on the Water of Leith flood prevention scheme plus the new Edinburgh tram scheme meant that two pitches had to be lost and the City of Edinburgh Council is supporting the development

Litster noted: _x001C_We will have to limit usage on the grass pitches initially and, going forward, we will be looking at access to the pitches given that they are used by international, professional, age-grade, club, youth and women players.

_x001C_However I believe the development will lead to an improvement in the quality of the back pitches._x001D_

The bedding-in of the new pitches will mean that it is unlikely there will be any public car parking during the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship. Scottish Rugby has announced already that there will be no public car parking during the Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests in November.

Scottish Rugby is keen to encourage supporters to make use of alternative public transport arrangements. Our web site at http://www.scottishrugby.org/sru/murrayfield/direction.cfm highlights many different routes which can be taken including by rail (to Waverley and Haymarket); by bus; via Tripshare; and by utilising the Park and Ride schemes at Ingliston and Hermiston Gate. A downloadable map showing these routes is also available via the web site.