The diversions previously planned for the start of September are due to take place over the weekend of 17 and 18 September. They will begin on a phased basis from 5am on the Saturday with the full arrangements expected to be in place by Monday 19 September.

The diversions are being put in place as preparation for remedial works on the road surface. As part of the mediation process earlier this year, the Consortium agreed to carry out further work in Princes Street at no extra cost to the project.

The scheduled diversions will see buses, taxis and cyclists diverted along George Street for the duration of the works, while general traffic will be rerouted along Queen Street. The mobilisation of contractors will begin during the week of Monday 19 September.

Council Leader, Councillor Jenny Dawe, said: “This is a first step in getting the works moving forward. We recognise the impact of putting the diversions in place. Disruption to visitors and shoppers on Princes Street will be kept to a minimum and we have liaised closely with local businesses to ensure the diversion goes as smoothly as possible for them.

“Our message is that Edinburgh is very much open for business and this will be communicated to the public through advertising, on-street signs and maps in the run up to the diversions going into place. The measures to avoid a clash with the very important winter festival season also remain in place.”

Chief Executive Sue Bruce added:- “It’s essential for the project that we begin work soon, and for everyone in the city centre the certainty that it will be finished as soon as practicable is important. A huge amount of effort has gone into this and all parties are working hard to ensure we make headway for the short and long-term benefit of the city.”

The Open for Business Scheme will provide an ongoing support and promotional service for city centre businesses, carrying key messaging to drive home that the city centre remains fully accessible throughout the diversion of traffic from Princes Street. In additional to this, logistics support will be provided to assist traders directly impacted by the diversion.

No works will take place on Princes Street from 24 November 2011 until after the Winter Festivals. Works will restart in January 2012 and are due to be finished by July 2012.