Trams will not travel to or from Wolverhampton city centre for five months, it was revealed today, leading to warnings of major disruptions for commuters.
Passengers will be forced to use buses for part of their journey while work is carried out on a section of the tram route in the city.
Tram tracks embedded in the A41 Bilston Road will be renovated as part of the £5 million project.
The main St George’s stop in Wolverhampton will be closed off and refurbished.
It will mean passengers travelling into the city will have get off at Priestfield and travel around two miles on buses. Buses will also be laid on for people travelling away from Wolverhampton. Work starts next month and finishes in November.
The project was announced by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer in March, who said the line was ‘really important to the local economy’. The St George’s platform will also be extended as part of the work so that it can accommodate a new Spanish-built fleet of Urbos 3 trams.
Bosses at Centro said The Royal stop – which falls in between the St George’s and Priestfield stations – would reopen at some point between July and November, but St George’s will remain closed for the full five months of work.
National Express buses will accept and sell tram tickets to Priestfield and The Royal during the disruption.
Centro spokesman Peter Cameron said: “The work will be carried out in two stages and will require the Metro system to be closed between Priestfield and St George’s. The first phase will take place at The Royal and once completed this will allow us to run trams to the stop while the second phase of work leading up to St George’s is carried out.
“The replacement will see a £5m upgrade to the existing rails as well as preparing the platforms for the arrival of the new fleet of trams.
“We have been reminding passengers that work to upgrade the Midland Metro tracks along the Bilston Road will be taking place later this year.
“Preparatory work will begin in the summer and we will be announcing the specific dates of the closure later in the year.”