Preparatory work for tracklaying on Birmingham Eastside extension to get underway in June

With work already underway on extensions of the West Midlands Metro to Hagley Road in Edgbaston, Wolverhampton Railway Station and Brierley Hill, it has now been confirmed that the first “spades on the ground” will be seen on the Birmingham Eastside extension to Digbeth from Sunday 6th June. This will see preparatory works started to lay track along Lower Bull Street and will necessitate a closure of the road to vehicles.

This next phase of works will begin after the remaining utility upgrade and diversion works have been completed and later this summer will also see tram services from Wolverhampton having to terminate at Bull Street as the new tracks are connected to the current line. Dates of this closure have yet to be confirmed.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Officially starting work on the tram line out to East Birmingham is incredibly exciting. Not only are we playing our part in Digbeth’s incredible transformation by linking it to the main transport network, but we’re also helping to protect and create local jobs at such a critical time for many. Major transport projects guarantee significant work for the construction sector and their employees, which is why schemes such as these are so important to get on with. As well as connecting the east and west of Birmingham by tram, this extension will also provide a direct route for many across the Black Country to travel directly to the new Curzon Street station for HS2. This is just one of three metro extensions that are currently underway, along with the re-opening of old railway lines and stations, a re-design of our cycling network, and the introduction of electric buses. For decades public transport in this region was under-invested in, but over the past four years I’ve increased our spend seven-fold, and will look to double that again over the next three years. The West Midlands deserves a world-class transport network, and that’s what we’re creating.”

The work in Lower Bull Street is due to be completed by spring 2022 with further work on the route out to Digbeth due to follow. It is due to be 1.7km in length with over half of its length being built without overhead wires. Four new stops will be constructed including one for the HS2 station at Curzon Street. To allow for the work on HS2 and the tram to be planned together Transport for West Midlands have not committed to an opening date of the Birmingham Eastside extension as yet,

Marian Ion, Project Director at the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “That we are now gearing up to start main construction on the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension signals a really important step forward in the project and I am excited to see these works get underway. There will be some unavoidable disruption while these works take place but we will continue to work closely with our partners Birmingham City Council, Transport for West Midlands and West Midlands Metro to minimise this wherever possible.”

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