Metro extension makes progress as utility services begin upgrade

The £227m Birmingham Eastside Metro extension will move forward as the upgrade to utility services in Meriden Street gets underway.

Initial activity began this week as temporary traffic lights were installed on Allison Street, as Meriden Street will become one way from next week.

The four-stop extension is already underway from Bull Street to Lower Bull Street and Digbeth High Street and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) says progress will be more visible when the diversion is put into place.

The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, will be carrying out the essential activity in phases in preparation for main construction to start later in the year and works are due to be completed in November.

Mosin Khurshid, head of utilities at MMA said: “Unfortunately, these works will lead to some disruption for road users but we have been and will continue to work closely with Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands to minimise impact wherever possible.”

Access to business on Meriden Street will be maintained, but TfWM advises to plan ahead and leave more time for journeys.

Mark Corbin, director of network resilience for TfWM, said: “January can be a busy time for the road network with many people resuming their normal activities following the festive break, so it is important that we ensure the travelling public are able to keep moving as easily as possible.”

More than half of the 1.7km route is planned to be free of overhead wires, similar to the recently opened extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square.

In October, ahead of testing and commissioning beginning, MMA were adding the finishing touches to the second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Edgbaston.
Throughout the summer, overhead wires, which will provide power for trams in some areas of the route, including Broad Street, have been installed and a purpose-built substation building is being constructed within the footprint of Five Ways island.

In addition, an 11km extension is branching off from Wednesbury Great Western Street, before heading through Tipton and Dudley, towards Brierley Hill. There are plans for 16 stops and a new depot for the fleet of trams for all of the extensions.