Work on bringing the West Midlands Metro to Brierley Hill has been continuing to make good progress recently with the first major structure now demolished, the first stage of utility diversions completed and attention is being turned towards working on the 7k railway corridor which will carry trams for much of the route.
The first phase of utility diversion works had been taking place on Castle Hill in Dudley but these were completed on Friday 7th August allowing the road to be fully reopened to traffic. This work had started back in July and the reopening of the road was on schedule. Whilst Castle Hill is now open to two-way traffic again, the bus stops on the road remain closed. It may be necessary for further short-term closures to follow later in 2020 but these will be announced in due course if necessary.
Mosin Khurshid, Head of Utilities at Transport for West Midlands, said: “We are delighted that these essential utility upgrades have been completed on schedule and that both lanes on Castle Hill will be accessible for road users. The first phase of these works was an essential part of the construction for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension, which will help to transform public transport in the area when complete. I have no doubt that the lifting of traffic restrictions will come as welcome news to the businesses and many varied tourist attractions in the town and I would like to take the time to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during our ongoing works.”
This was quickly followed by the completion of the demolition of the first major structure on the route – an old railway bridge in Tipton. The bridge is located on the disused route of the South Staffordshire Railway line and will be replaced in due course. Structural specialists are also currently assessing and finalising details for the replacement of existing structures across Sandwell and Dudley. You can view a video of the demolition online.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Infrastructure projects, such as the building of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro route, are critical to our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as they help to generate money for the local economy and secure and create local jobs for local people. Because of this I am determined we press ahead with the new metro line for the Black Country, and it is great to see another key milestone reached. The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route will be a huge connectivity boost for the people of Dudley and Sandwell, and it also forms a key part of our wider, ambitious, plans for the metro network across the whole West Midlands.”
It has also been confirmed that in order to allow further access to the old railway line, Dudley Port Station overflow car park is to be closed from Monday 24th August. This car park was opened in 2010 and will be reopened once all work has been completed as a combined interchange Park and Ride car park once the West Midlands Metro extension opens.
Work will be continuing on constructing the extension over the next few years with the full 11km route – 7km of which is on the route of the old South Staffordshire Railway line – due to open during 2023.