Work on Metro tram ex­ten­sion could mean a year of dis­rup­tion

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

COM­MUTERS are be­ing warned to brace them­selves for a year of dis­rup­tion as a ma­jor Birm­ing­ham city cen­tre route is closed for work on the Mid­land Metro tram ex­ten­sion.

A se­ries of traf­fic diver­sions around what was Par­adise Cir­cus will start on Mon­day (Septem­ber 3) and are ex­pected to be in place un­til at least sum­mer 2019.

The move will al­low en­gi­neers to in­stall plat­forms and tram lines from Vic­to­ria Square to Broad Street and Centenary Square.

The project is part of the £149 mil­lion 1.3-mile ‘West­side’ ex­ten­sion which will run from New Street sta­tion to Ha­gley Road in Edg­bas­ton via Broad Street, adding five more stops to the route.

Steve Grimes, project di­rec­tor for the West­side ex­ten­sion, said: “Since the be­gin­ning of July, we have been work­ing hard with our part­ners to en­sure those liv­ing, work­ing and trav­el­ling to Birm­ing­ham are aware of the up­com­ing clo­sure and so able to plan their jour­neys around it.

“Dur­ing the clo­sure, we are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to plan their jour­neys in ad­vance, use pub­lic trans­port if they can and en­sure they al­low ex­tra time or re-time their travel, wher­ever pos­si­ble.”

Mid­land Metro ser­vices are due to start run­ning from New Street sta­tion to Centenary Square in late 2019. Work will then be­gin on the next sec­tion to Ha­gley Road via Broad Street which is due to be open by the end of 2021. The new stops will be out­side Town Hall Birm­ing­ham and at Centenary Square where pas­sen­gers can ac­cess the ICC, Li­brary of Birm­ing­ham and new HSBC UK head of­fice.

The other stops will be op­po­site Brind­ley­place at the cor­ner of Granville Street, out­side the Cineworld cinema in Broad Street and in front of of­fice block 54 Ha­gley Road.

These will be served by up to ten trams an hour at peak times.

Birm­ing­ham trans­port chief Coun­cil­lor Waseem Zaf­far added: “This Metro ex­ten­sion is set to bring fan­tas­tic ben­e­fits to the city, help­ing to strengthen eco­nomic growth and bet­ter con­nect peo­ple to other ar­eas of the re­gion, mak­ing it eas­ier for those liv­ing, work­ing and trav­el­ling in the area to get around.

“In­creased pub­lic trans­port pro­vi­sion is also es­sen­tial if we are to en­cour­age more peo­ple out of their cars, re­duc­ing con­ges­tion on our roads and help­ing to im­prove our air qual­ity.

“As works to con­struct the next stage are edg­ing closer, we are re­mind­ing the trav­el­ling pub­lic of the im­por­tance of plan­ning their jour­neys ahead to avoid dis­rup­tion.”

This ex­ten­sion con­nects to the pre­vi­ous ex­pan­sion from out­side Snow Hill sta­tion to New Street sta­tion which opened in May 2016.

An in­ter­ac­tive map of the di­ver­sion routes can be found at www.net­work­west­mid­lands.com.

>An artist’s im­pres­sion, of the Mid­land Metro tram ex­ten­sion show­ing the tram line run­ning past Vic­to­ria Square and Town Hall Birm­ing­ham

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