The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has given the final go-ahead for the 11km long Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension to the West Midlands Metro, approving the full £449.5M needed to complete the project.
The WMCA spokesperson said funding approval was the final hurdle for the project, which will link Dudley with Birmingham, Wolverhampton and National Rail track.
Project cots have risen from £343M to £402M in 2017 and rose again earlier this year by £50M to £449.5M after more detailed investigation work on the 23 bridges and viaducts along the route raised a number of unforeseen issues.
The project is being funded partly through a £207M transforming cities grant made by the WMCA in December 2017 and from the Birmingham Connected fund.
Work is expected to start later this year on the scheme.
The line will link a business and innovation enterprise zone at Waterfront in Brierley Hill, as well as a planned multi-million pound transport interchange in Dudley town centre.
The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance, on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA.
The Midland Metro Alliance comprises the WMCA, the design consortium of Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann and contractor Colas Rail, with sub-alliance partners Colas, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.
TfWM has started a feasibility study to investigate what mode of transport will best link Brierley Hill to Stourbridge – whether that be rail, light rail, Metro or bus – to further improve connectivity in the borough.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line will be a true game-changer, bringing huge benefits to this part of the Black Country and acting as a catalyst for new housing, jobs and leisure opportunities.
“I also welcome TfWM’s feasibility study, which will ensure we get the best possible public transport routes to link Brierley Hill to Stourbridge and other areas of the West Midlands.”
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