Work is about to start on the proposed extended route of the Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill. The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) will begin to clear vegetation from overgrown areas of the disused former South Staffordshire Railway line in order to carry out comprehensive structural and environmental surveys.
According to Councillor Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the West Midlands Combined Authority, it is not the formal commencement of work to the line. Mr Lawrence said: “Whilst this is not the formal start of work on the extension it is the first step towards it. There is a lot of work still to be done but once it is complete the Black Country and wider region will reap the economic rewards of having an extended modern tram system running through it.”
The MMA is working on behalf of West Midlands Combined Authority. The construction of the new route is expected to start in 2019 and will be open for passenger service in 2023.
Local residents and businesses who may be directly affected by the clearance work have been informed that it is taking place. The process should take about two weeks and residents have been assured that any disruption will be minimised where possible.
Midland Metro Alliance director Alejandro Moreno said: “We are very excited to begin work on this key route but before we can begin construction, we do need to carry out some preparatory work in order to decide what further works are required to prepare for construction.”
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise for Dudley Council, commented: “We’ve been working hard with partners to make this project happen as we are set to benefit significantly when the Metro rolls in. The improved transport links will create huge opportunities for jobs and tourism in the area. Therefore it’s great to see the project moving in the right direction and a commitment from all involved.”
Stuart Everton, Black Country Director of Transport, added: “The start of construction of the line between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill is excellent news for the local economy, and will provide a significant boost to our regeneration plans for the region. It will also provide benefits to residents across the region by making it easier for them to get to jobs, and the national and international rail network.”