Construction work for the Metro extension will see The Embankment closed to traffic until mid February. Surrounding roads are expected to have long delays throughout the essential works, and Transport for West Midlands advised motorists all journeys in the area will take longer.
Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley Council cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "The benefits to the borough and indeed the region of the Metro link will be wide reaching, increasing public transport provisions for students, residents, commuters and those visiting our borough, helping them to move freely across the West Midlands and make the most of all the opportunities our region has to offer."
Mosin Khurshid, Head of Utilities at MMA, said: “Construction for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route has been well underway throughout 2020 and 2021, and we are delighted that we are now in a position to begin activity near to Merry Hill in 2022.
"When in operation, this new route will provide easy access to Merry Hill via fast and frequent public transport, which will be fantastic for the people of Dudley and the wider West Midlands. These works will lead to some disruption for road users, particularly during the first phase of activity, however we have been and will continue to work closely with Dudley Council and Transport for West Midlands to minimise impact wherever possible."
Merry Hill centre manager Jonathan Poole said: "Merry Hill and the Waterfront will continue to be fully open to visitors throughout. Centre parking will also remain accessible via clearly marked diversion routes. As one of the leading retail destinations in the UK we’re delighted that these new regional public transport links are being added for the benefit of future visitors."
Merry Hill diversion route
Dudley Council has announced the signed diversion route for traffic that would normally travel along the north-south road.
Motorists who would usually head north along The Embankment, which runs right next to Merry Hill and Odeon cinema, will instead have to travel along The Boulevard, past the Asda petrol station and towards the A4036 (Merry Hill).
At the crossroads with the dual carriageway, drivers turn left to head up Merry Hill (A4036), which becomes Pedmore Road.
At the next junction, turn left into Level Street to reach the roundabout which connects Level Street with The Embankment.
Motorists heading south should use the same roads, but in the opposite direction.
Transport for West Midlands wants motorists to consult its social media accounts before their journeys as the latest traffic situation will be updated regularly.
When does the road reopen?
The construction project on The Embankment is expected to be finished for February half-term period so businesses in the area will be able trade normally during the break.
Dudley Council says the road is closed until Friday, February 18, meaning drivers can expect to use The Embankment again from Saturday, February 19.
What is the work for?
It is hoped the line will provide reductions to journey times between the centres of the region and act as step-free access to popular local attractions including Dudley Zoo and Castle, the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust.
The 11-km route will run along the former South Staffordshire railway and contain 17 stops. They are:
Golds Hill (provisional stop)
Dudley Port (for interchange with national rail services)
Birmingham New Road
Station Road (for Castle Hill attractions)
Dudley town centre (at Dudley bus station)
Flood Street (provisional stop)
New Road (provisional stop)
Canal Street (provisional stop)
Merry Hill Centre
Passenger services are anticipated to start in 2024.