Plans to extend the Midland Metro in Wolverhampton have been formally approved by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin following a Transport and Works Act Order public inquiry last summer. The go-ahead means preparatory work on the £18million extension can start later this year with completion scheduled for 2019.
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 (TfWM), the transport arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority, in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council and Neptune Developments.
The tram extension aims to improve passenger connections between bus, train and tram services and also support ongoing redevelopment of land next to the railway station which it is claimed could see £120million of investment and 1,400 new jobs.
“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,” says Roger Lawrence, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and the West Midlands lead on transport.
| The current terminus is in Bilston Street, some distance |
from the bus station
“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.