Express & Star

Main city route to close again as Pipers Row Metro works rumble on

A major Wolverhampton city centre route is set to close again next month as part of delayed Metro works.

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Pipers Row in Wolverhampton is set to close again due to Metro works – but the dates on the sign are inaccurate

Pipers Row will be closed to traffic for five days while workers continue on the extension of the line between the St George's stop and the railway station.

The closure, which the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) says is necessary for "resurfacing activity", means all cars will be blocked and buses – should any be running – will be diverted around the city.

The Express & Star has been told that signs saying Pipers Row will be closed from March 27 to 31 are inaccurate, with the closure likely to take place in early April.

It marks the latest episode in the long-running saga of the 700-metre stretch, which is delayed by more than two years and has seen its £35m budget balloon to around £50m.

The MMA is yet to give a completion date for the scheme, saying only that the line should be open to passengers "later in the spring" following testing.

Peter Cushing, director of the MMA, said: "I’m delighted that this scheme will shortly be entering this vital testing phase ahead of opening to passengers later in the spring.

"With Metro added to an enhanced railway station and an excellent bus network, the city of Wolverhampton is getting the improved transport gateway it deserves.

"At this time we would like to thank those who have been impacted by our works for their patience and understanding."

Antony Lowbridge-Ellis, head of communications at the MMA, said customers and those living and working nearby would be made aware of details surrounding the final works.

Once open services will call at two additional tram stops, at the railway station and on Pipers Row.

The line was initially supposed to open in 2020. It was pushed back by 18 months by the pandemic and was then due to open before the Commonwealth Games last July before further delays.

Another delay was then announced last October, with bosses blaming "supply chain constraints".

In recent weeks workers have been on site at Pipers Row digging up a "temporary" surface that was put down last summer, with lane restrictions and temporary traffic lights in place alongside the bus station.

The scheme has been made the subject of an independent investigation after it was deemed to have breached financial regulations.