The Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will begin works for phase two of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension between Centenary Square and Hagley Road in January 2019. These will be the first works of the second phase of the route which will ultimately see West Midland Metro services extended from Grand Central to the new terminus at 54 Hagley Road.
In order to enable this, Broad Street Canal Tunnel will close to canal and towpath traffic in both directions from Wednesday 2 January 2019 and remain closed until early spring. The waterway and footpath which will be closed is directly under the Broad Street Canal Tunnel. Vehicle traffic will be able to continue use to use Broad Street although two-way traffic signals on the street above the works will be in place.
The works have been scheduled by the Midland Metro Alliance, with the support of the Canal & River Trust, during winter and after Christmas to minimise disruption for the community living or working alongside the canal, which is traditionally busier in warmer months. The Canal & River Trust has been liaising with canal users including residents of Gas Street Basin to ensure they are familiar with the plans and alternative waterway routes/facilities.
During this phase of construction, Midland Metro Alliance will use an innovative method to strengthen the bridge consisting of additional steelwork fitted in the existing brickwork of the late 18th century structure. The system will be installed from the underside of the bridge and will result in less noise during works, is anticipated to be much faster than other methods and will prevent the need for significant impact on the highway above.
Steve Grimes, Midland Metro Alliance Project Director for the Birmingham Westside Metro Extension, said: “We recognise that there will be some disruption to those living, working, travelling and visiting the city during this vital next stage of Metro works. We are working closely with Birmingham City Council, local Business Improvement Districts, the Canal & River Trust, and Transport for West Midlands to minimise the impact.”
The Birmingham Westside Metro extension follows the Metro extension from St. Chads to Grand Central, which opened for passenger service in May 2016. Once completed, the Metro will operate between Grand Central and Hagley Road in Edgbaston, improving transport links in the heart of Birmingham, making journeys faster and more accessible, in turn helping businesses and supporting more jobs.
Five new tram stops will connect passengers to Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road, with links to popular attractions such as the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall, allowing more people to use the Metro in this area for day-to-day travel, reducing road congestion in the city centre, as well as improving sustainable transport options along Broad Street and beyond.
The first phase of the works to Centenary Square is anticipated to open for passenger service in late 2019. The second phase of the route is planned to open for passenger service in 2021 in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Adnan Saif, Regional Director for the Canal & River Trust in the West Midlands, said: “Birmingham’s waterways are an amazing historic legacy and we support these works to restore and strengthen the tunnel so that it can meet the challenges of modern day life. The Metro will bring people right into the heart of our amazing canal network and we very much hope that those coming into the city will take the opportunity to head down onto the towpath and feel the health and wellbeing benefits of being by water. In the meantime we’re grateful for the understanding shown by those on the canal while these important works take place.”
For any further information about the work and for maps of the diversion routes, please visit: www.metroalliance.co.uk.