Construction for the £165M Second City Crossing in Manchester is expected to finish six months ahead of schedule, despite obstacles thrown up by the city’s Victorian infrastructure.
Due to complications including a collapsed Victorian sewer, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) had expected to complete work on the new Metrolink line runing through the city in summer 2017.
However, the final rails have now been laid and construction is expected to finish before Christmas.
Part of the Grow project – which involves infrastructure investments of more than £1bn by 2017 – the Second City Crossing will offer a more reliable tram service for the 35M journeys made each year.
“It’s great to see these final sections of rail laid, one of the final jigsaw pieces in the puzzle,” said TfGM committee chair Andrew Fender.
“With some infrastructure still dating back to the Victorians, building through a busy city has not been an easy task. The scale of the venture has been impressive and, while there has been inevitable disruption, we’re close to the finish line and to customers, residents and businesses reaping the benefits.”
The work included a new tram stop in Exchange Square and rebuild of four more city centre stops.
“Over the past eight years of partnership with TfGM, we’ve built 58 new tram stops and more than 60km of new track,” said contractor MPT’s project director Peter Jones.
“Reaching this milestone is a measure of our teams’ tenacity and we will work together to ensure the opening is achieved early next year.”
The first phase of the route from Victoria Station to Exchange Square was opened by TfGM in December 2015 and was fast-tracked due to a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.