A new partnership which will revolutionise the major expansion of future tram routes across the West Midlands has been formally launched. The Midland Metro Alliance establishes a team of planning, design and construction specialists building four new tram extensions on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Jan Britton, chief operating officer of the WMCA, explains more: “I’m really looking forward to seeing this alliance come to fruition in a way that we haven’t seen delivered before. The idea that we work together as a team – sharing risk, sharing the rewards, sharing the problem – is deeply important and very impressive. I think we couldn’t have a better starting point for the work of the Combined Authority.
The Alliance is formed of the WMCA, rail construction experts Colas Rail (with Colas’ partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Thomas Vale – part of Bouygues UK – and Auctus Management Group) and a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischman.
Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands – the transport arm of the WMCA, said: “The expansion of Midland Metro is a long-term investment programme and absolutely key to the WMCA’s vision for strategic growth and regeneration. The devolution deal the WMCA has signed will help secure £4.4 billion especially for our growth strategy to make the most of the HS2 rail line arriving, and as part of that the alliance has a critical role to play to deliver £1.2 billion of schemes over the next decade. We now have the funding in place to really push on expanding the Midland Metro and it is the perfect time for us to introduce this new way of working.”
This agreement will see all parties in the alliance share the risks and rewards between them and will include a significant focus on how the partners work together and with stakeholders, businesses and community. It is a shift from the traditional style of delivering major infrastructure, where contractors and designers are normally appointed on a project by project basis.
The Alliance will be involved in future extensions of Midland Metro including a line to Centenary Square (already under construction with opening in 2019), to Edgbaston via Broad Street and Five Ways (2021), to Digbeth (including a link to the HS2 Station at Curzon Street) and also to Wolverhampton Railway Station (2019). In addition a business case is currently being prepared to extend the line from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.