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New Midland Metro track may have to be ripped up in Wolverhampton

By Alex Ross | Wolverhampton | Transport | Published:

Newly-laid Metro line in Wolverhampton already needs repair work as it was discovered the track is losing electrical power.

The Metro in Bilston Road where the road may have to be pulled up to make repairs to the newly-laid tram tracks

It means workers will likely have to pull up a section of Bilston Road to fix the problem with an overnight lane closure a possibility.

The problem, known as a stray current, lies within a 200 metre-long stretch of the Bilston Road track next to the ring road roundabout.

It can be caused by a piece of metal touching the track and is fixed by pulling up the road to remove or move it.

It has been identified through electrical testing of the track and hasn’t affected trams.

Work was completed on Bilston Road at the end of 2017

Phil Hewitt, from the Metro programme director, said workers were currently looking to narrow down the exact location of the problem.

He added it was unlikely the repair work would result in a road closure.

Instead, he said, it would ‘probably’ mean an overnight lane closure.

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“The problem has been identified and work is now being done to find the source of it,” he said.

“The alliance is confident they can resolve the problem with relatively unobtrusive works, maybe an overnight lane closure.

"The concrete around the track will need to be pulled up to fix the issue.

“It is not a serious risk, but it can cause corrosion if we do not deal with it.

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“It is not uncommon, but does need to be sorted.”

Wolverhampton Council leader Roger Lawrence said he would be monitoring the situation.

And a spokesman for the Midland Metro Alliance said: “Stray current is very low voltage electrical interference caused by DC motors and is a common occurrence in buildings, infrastructure and electrical equipment as a result of electrical supply systems.”

Work on the track in Bilston Road was completed at the end of last year.

Business owners said they endured ‘six months of misery’ while the track was laid, as it hit local trade hard.

It emerged earlier this year that the scheme was given a top industry award – partly for its communications with businesses during the project – which local business owners said was ‘laughable’.

The engineering project saw more than 100 people employed, while more than 175,000 working hours were recorded during the scheme.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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