£24.1 million Dudley Interchange project approved by combined authority

The £24.1 million Dudley Interchange linking bus and trams has been given the go-ahead by the combined authority’s board.

A computer generated image of the planned interchange
A computer generated image of the planned interchange

The interchange, due to be built on the site of the current bus station, is intended to connect buses with the West Midlands Metro – using the new Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line – and the planned Sprint bus routes.

The project is intended to be “integral” to the planned £1 billion redevelopment of Dudley, including £600m for the town centre and the Castle Hill area.

Work to extend the tram line from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill started last year and followed the extension along Piper's Row in Wolverhampton to the city's railway station.

The West Midlands Combined Authority approved the plan for the Dudley interchange – which includes capital and land contributions worth £3.5m from Dudley Council - on Friday.

A report to councillors states: “Dudley is in the midst of an exciting new chapter in its history, with work on a £1bn programme of investment for the borough gathering pace. The new Dudley Interchange will be an integral part of this.”

An aerial view of the new metro line at Castle Hill, pictured in January

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “This is good news for Dudley.

“The interchange itself will deliver a multi-modal facility for the town of Dudley and act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the town centre.

“Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council have very ambitious plans for the regeneration of Dudley Town Centre and the new interchange will be part of those plans.

“The new proposals in this interchange will provide a more comfortable waiting environment and the latest real-time information provision for people travelling on public transport.

“I am also assured the new retail facilities within the interchange will enhance passenger experience.”

The meeting heard works were due to start in late 2021 and Councillor Ward said “hitting that date is vital to ensuring there is minimal disruption to bus services” as a result of the Metro extension, due to be finished by 2023.

Dudley Council leader and WMCA portfolio holder for culture and digital Councillor Patrick Harley said: “This latest investment in my borough is absolutely vital.”

He said the planned the Portersfield development, Metro extension and interchange plans are intertwined and added: “This is a perfect advertisement to why the combined authority works.”

Councillor Kath Hartley, chair of the WMCA transport delivery committee, said: “It is certainly essential, even without the Metro. [The existing Dudley bus station] needed a complete revamp to make the use of it for passengers and operators much, much better.”

The Government's Transforming Cities Fund is putting £10m towards the scheme while £7.4m is due to be reallocated from the Birchley Island highway scheme which is now being funded by the Department for Transport.

The existing bus station was built in 1986 and is the oldest in the West Midlands.

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