Over the coming weeks, work is set to begin on removing the road surface along Castle Hill, preparing the area for track to be installed and bringing the highly-anticipated route closer to fruition.
The start of construction follows the significant progress that has been made on the project last year including the upgrade and diversion of utilities in the area as well as the successful removal of several aged structures along the 11km route.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is incredibly exciting that, despite the pandemic, we are able to press ahead and begin the main construction process of the Black Country Metro extension. Not only is the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension the biggest light rail project in the UK, but it is also an immediate creator of local jobs and driver of our regional economy at such a challenging time.
"This Metro extension will be a huge connectivity boost for the people of Dudley and Sandwell, helping to better link these two Black Country boroughs to the rest of the West Midlands, unlocking more jobs and opportunities. The extension also forms a key part of my wider plans for public transport across the region, something that is desperately needed after decades of under investment. I am delighted we are set to properly get underway with construction, and want to say a huge thank you to all the staff who have helped make this happen despite the pandemic.”
Councillor Patrick Harley, Leader of Dudley Council, added: “The start of construction will signal another major step forward in the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension and I am delighted that these works are about to get underway. This extension, along with other projects across the borough, will play an important part in regenerating the borough, whilst also helping to deliver new homes, jobs and so much more. There will, however, be some unavoidable disruption to those making essential journeys and I would ask our residents and business owners to follow the travel advice. I have no doubt that the new route will make a significant difference to the town and I look forward to the continued progress ahead.”
In order to minimise disruption to the road network, the Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, will be undertaking the works on Castle Hill in two phases from Spring 2021 through to Spring 2022. Traffic will be maintained one-wa in the direction of Castlegate island from Monday 8 March, ahead of construction commencing, with clearly-marked diversion routes in place to assist road users.