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Last phase of works for long-awaited Wolverhampton Metro extension to begin

The final phase of works on the Wolverhampton Metro extension will get under way next week and will run until early April, transport chiefs have announced.

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Testing of the Metro extension to Wolverhampton Railway Station is expected to begin later in the Spring, following the remaining work taking place along Pipers Row and Railway Drive.

It follows lengthy delays to the scheme, which was meant to be originally completed in 2020 at a cost of £35 million, with the final bill now expected to be around the £50m mark.

Midland Metro Alliance, which is working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, has confirmed that the final stages of work are due to get under way on Monday and will last for up to eight weeks.

Drivers have been warned there may be some lane restrictions in Pipers Row, and buses leaving the station will be diverted for about four weeks from February 20.

Temporary traffic lights will also be in force from Monday.

Transport bosses have also warned that tram services may be impacted towards the end of the works and as driver training begins later in the Spring.

A Midland Metro Alliance spokesman said: "Ahead of testing and commissioning beginning, there are some additional activities which need to be undertaken to ensure that tram tests are able to be carried out efficiently.

"You will still be able to access all businesses and retailers during the works, including both the Mander and Wulfrun shopping centres.

"There will be clearly signed diversion routes to assist pedestrians and vehicles users to find their way around the city centre. "Access to all surrounding streets will remain until mid-March when further traffic changes will be implemented. "More details will be shared as the work progresses."

Traffic marshals will also be in place to assist delivery drivers and businesses.

An exact opening date for the Wolverhampton Metro extension has yet to be announced and will be dependent on what happens during the testing phase, bosses have said.

In October last year, it was announced that the Metro extension to Wolverhampton Railway Station would not be completed until spring 2023 due to "unforeseen supply chain constraints".

The project was originally meant to be completed in 2020 but was delayed by 18 months due to construction work at the railway station.

Metro bosses then hoped the extension would be ready for the Commonwealth Games in July but pushed back the opening date until autumn 2022.

The delays to the scheme – which last year was projected to cost £35m – have resulted in a significant increase to its budget.

According to Transport for West Midlands, issues including inflationary pressures and supply chain delays have contributed to costs rising by more than £10m.

All told the final bill will be around the £50 million mark.

The entire scheme is now the subject of an independent investigation after it was deemed to have breached financial regulations.