Midland Metro Alliance to reopen Bilston Road ahead of schedule

The tram track replacement works along the Bilston Road in Wolverhampton will complete ahead of schedule on 2 December 2017 when the restrictions on traffic along this stretch of the A41 will be removed.
These essential maintenance works were necessary to ensure the tramway could continue to be safely operated ahead of the introduction of catenary free trams in 2018. The works, which are being undertaken by the Midland Metro Alliance on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will be finished more than two weeks ahead of schedule and on budget. National Express, the operator of Midland Metro, will undertake essential testing and commissioning activities, without passengers on board. Subject to these tests being successfully completed the tram service to Wolverhampton St. George’s will resume on Sunday 10 December.
Paul Brown, Project Director for Midland Metro Alliance, said: “Our team on the Bilston Road track replacement project have pulled out all the stops to allow the road to reopen in both directions and the tram to return to passenger service. As well as replacing the tram track during the project, we have also resurfaced the road, which will mean a much improved environment for both tram and road users. We thank the people of Wolverhampton for their patience during these works.”
This complex engineering project has seen more than 100 people employed, many of them local to the Black Country. The works involved breaking out 2.7km of the road and existing track, before replacement drainage systems and concrete base to support the tracks and road could be built. The replacement rails were then laid and welded into place after which the remaining concrete and road surface installed and the traffic and tram signalling reinstated.
More than 175,000 working hours were recorded during the project with a strong emphasis on local goods and services, part of the Midland Metro Alliance’s commitment to ensuring 80 per cent of the supply chain comes from the region.
Alejandro Moreno, Midland Metro Alliance Director, said: “We would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during this essential maintenance project. Having been built in the late 1990s the tram track was at the end of its operational life and it was vital for the continuation of passenger service that this work was completed as soon as possible.”
On Saturday 2 December 2017, Midland Metro Alliance will reopen the A41 (Bilston Road) allowing traffic to travel in both directions to and from the City of Wolverhampton. Local people may see tram traffic during this time as testing work gets underway.
Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “The reopening of Bilston Road, and the forthcoming return of trams to the city in time for Christmas, is great news for Wolverhampton. We thank the Midland Metro Alliance for safely completing this important work ahead of schedule. The City of Wolverhampton Council recognise that the works have caused disruption at times and we thank everyone affected for their patience.”
Phil Hewitt, Programme Director for Transport for West Midlands said: “We’re looking forward to being able to resume full tram services just as soon as the short period of essential testing and commissioning is complete. That’s great news for customers and we’d like to thank them for their patience whilst the works were taking place. People will now be able to take the tram again to see what Bilston Road and Wolverhampton city centre has to offer in the run up to Christmas.”
For any further information about the work of the Midland Metro Alliance, please visit www.metroalliance.co.uk or email communications@metroalliance.co.uk.