Work on Metro tram extension could mean a year of disruption
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