Work to get underway on Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension
Work is to begin this month on a Metro extension project aiming to boost transport links across the Black Country.
The new line enables travellers using the existing Wolverhampton-to-Birmingham line to switch at Wednesbury Great Western Street to travel south to Brierley Hill.
Work will get started from February 24 in Dudley town centre. Castle Hill, outside Dudley Zoo, will see a two-way lane restriction as enabling work starts.
Work to extend the Wolverhampton tram line along Piper’s Row to the railway station is complete.
But this will be opened until the revamp of the station is completed later this year.
In Dudley, contractors working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will begin phased work for up to five weeks to remove the central reservation so traffic will still be able to travel in both directions on Castle Hill, when further works to upgrade and divert existing utilities begin shortly after.
The extension will provide much-needed links to the existing heavy and light rail networks.
The extension is also expected to help regenerate Dudley, Brierley Hill and Sandwell, according to bosses.
Passenger services are expected to start in 2023. Once up and running there will be up to 17 new stops.
Dudley Council leader, Councillor Patrick Harley, said: “There is little doubt for those living, working or visiting Dudley that the Metro route will make a massive difference to the town.
"It will help deliver new homes, jobs and so much more for the borough, making it even easier to visit our great tourist attractions.
“The construction, which is about to get under way on this and other regeneration projects across the borough, will cause unavoidable disruption, however.
"Which is why I have written to homes and businesses in the surrounding area with further details of our Regenerating Dudley programme and to remind all that our fantastic attractions remain open as usual throughout the works.”
Councillor Jackie Taylor, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for sustainable transport, said: “We are very excited that works are about start on the new Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.
“This extension will bring much-needed investment and regeneration to Sandwell and the surrounding areas and make it easier for people to travel around the region using a sustainable mode of transport.
“There will be some unavoidable disruption now and as so many of us travel across boroughs, we urge our residents and business owners to heed travel advice from our colleagues.”
Anne Shaw, director of network resilience at TfWM, added: “One of our key priorities is making sure travel is as easy as possible while construction takes place.
"If you drive please consider leaving the car at home to reduce congestion in the town centre while this essential work takes place.
“We have been working closely with Dudley Council and the Midland Metro Alliance to help minimise disruption to the travelling public and keep Dudley moving as the Metro development progresses.”
People living, working or visiting Dudley town centre are also being asked by council and transport bosses to leave more time for their journeys as the works progress.
Bus passengers are advised that bus lanes on Castle Hill will be suspended during the duration of the work.
Dudley Council will be writing to residents, businesses, schools and colleges across the town to provide details of the works.
The authority advised it wanted to change the name of the Station Drive stop to Dudley Castle.