Another construction milestone on West Midlands Metro extension

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A key piece of tramway infrastructure has been installed as construction of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Edgbaston hits another milestone.

An intricate switch-and-crossing (S&C) layout has been successfully installed on Hagley Road, following weeks of construction activity beginning in late-October.

Speaking to the team, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Big construction projects have a critical role to play in our region’s economic recovery from coronavirus as they help to create and protect local jobs in the construction industry – one of our region’s biggest employers.

“It is therefore brilliant to see the Birmingham Westside Metro extension reach this key milestone, whilst our other extensions to the East of Birmingham and from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill in the Black Country continue at pace as part of my transport plan for the West Midlands.

“It was great to be able to speak to the construction team to congratulate them for their hard work during these difficult times, and I am sure we will have many more metro milestones to celebrate in the coming months.”

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, added: “The Metro extension is a key part of Birmingham’s response to the challenge of climate change and this new route provides a sustainable option for travel across the city which is important ahead of the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.

“We’re grateful that the team have been able to continue to work safely in challenging times to keep the project on schedule.”

The route, along with three others, is being planned, designed and constructed by the Midland Metro Alliance on behalf of Transport for West Midlands. Activity is already underway to create a major extension linking Dudley to the existing Metro route, with a short extension also nearing completion in Wolverhampton. Finally, preliminary works are underway in the east of Birmingham City Centre for the Eastside Metro extension, which is being delivered to make the most out of HS2 and transform Digbeth bringing investment, skills and jobs into this area.

When the route to Edgbaston opens in 2021, three new tram stops will connect passengers to Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road. These new stops add to the two which were delivered in the first phase of the project, which opened for passenger service ahead of schedule in December 2019 and provides links to popular tourist attractions including the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall.

Construction on the project has continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with industry guidance implemented to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the team on site and the general public.

Peter Cushing, Director of the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “The installation of the switch and crossing is a fantastic achievement for the team, especially considering the challenging times we continue to be in. In coming weeks, the Hagley Road area will really start to take shape with the terminus tram stop installed and grass track laid just outside of this area. There is still lots of work to do throughout the coming months and into 2021, but people are getting a real taste of what the final product will look like.”