Plans for an £18M extension of the Midland Metro in Wolverhampton were given the go-ahead today.
The go-ahead means preparatory work on the £18M extension can start later this year with completion scheduled for 2019. The extension will trigger the next stage of a wider £120M redevelopment of the city centre.
The route will take trams along Pipers Row, stopping directly outside the bus station before continuing on to the railway station which will also be redeveloped as part of the Wolverhampton Interchange Project.
The Metro scheme is being carried out by Transport for West Midlands, the transport arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council and Neptune Developments.
“Today’s approval is excellent news because the extension can play a key role in unlocking further investment and jobs – not just in Wolverhampton but also other parts of the Black Country,” said City of Wolverhampton Council leader Roger Lawrence.
“If we are to succeed in revitalising our city then we must have the right transport infrastructure in place to open up new areas for redevelopment and underpin our long term ambitions.”
Lawrence said the extension would provide improved Metro links to the wider West Midlands including a route through to the proposed high speed rail station and the Broad Street area in Birmingham city centre.
Following a six-week legal challenge period the Transport and Works Act Order will come into force and allow work to start on advanced utility diversions.
This will be followed by works to the Pipers Row car park that in turn will create the space needed to divert the underground pipes and cables buried along the route of the tram extension.
The work is part of the wider Interchange project being funded by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, City of Wolverhampton Council and the WMCA