Midland Metro extension works resumes in Birmingham
Work has resumed on the Midland Metro tram extension in Birmingham – after it was suspended for two weeks when the Government introduced social distancing measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The scheme is continuing to extend the tram line up Broad Street through to Edgbaston, after discussions were held between Westside BID and Birmingham City Council.
The works, linking Centenary Square to Hagley Road on the far side of Five Ways, were suspended at the end of March – after the Midland Metro Alliance took the decision to ensure the safety of its teams and the public.
But following talks with Westside BID and the local authority, the extension works restarted this week after a reduction in road traffic and pedestrians made it safe to do so, following social distancing guidelines.
Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: “With bars, restaurants and clubs currently closed in and around Broad Street because of Covid-19, now is the perfect time for Metro works to safely continue.
“The BID is delighted that this is now happening so that when things return to normal we will be closer to a completed extension, with the Metro providing a vital link for people to access the Broad Street area.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the Midland Metro Alliance said it had responded to “further advice and clarification” from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with updated site operating procedures from the Construction Leadership Council.
The spokesman said: “Following this, and with further careful consideration, works on the Edgbaston phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension have now resumed in a reduced capacity in line with industry safety procedures.
“An abundance of care continues to be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of our team and that government guidelines are met on our site at all times, with much of the work currently taking place in heavy plant allowing for extended social distancing of staff members.
“This is an ever-changing situation and we will continue to follow government advice accordingly. Construction works on additional Metro extension projects will resume as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.”
The spokesman added that they had always been keen to resume work, but had to wait for Government guidance to “ensure that our staff were able to do their work safely”.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, the council's cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “The UK lockdown has meant that Broad Street is currently very quiet and most businesses are closed.
“This provides us with an opportunity to carry out the disruptive works involved with the Metro extension now, and therefore avoid major disruptions and road closures when businesses are back up and running.
“This work will be carried out safely with social distancing guidelines being observed at all times."
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