A start date has been revealed for the next phase of work on the West Midlands Metro which will connect the tram network up with HS2 in Birmingham.
The diggers will break ground on June 6 in Lower Bull Street to start the one-mile ‘Eastside’ extension from the city centre to Digbeth.
This work, which will begin with the completion of the remaining utility upgrades and diversions, will mean that Lower Bull Street will close to all vehicular traffic during construction.
Pedestrian and business access will be maintained at all times while local bus services will be diverted to other stops nearby.
The £227 million extension will have four stops at Albert Street, HS2, Meriden Street and High Street near the Custard Factory and coach station.
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This latest development comes just a week after more than £15 million in new funding was confirmed to support a revamp of High Street Deritend in Digbeth to include reduced traffic lanes and extra spaces for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Officially starting work on the tram line out to East Birmingham is incredibly exciting.
“Not only are we playing our part in Digbeth’s incredible transformation by linking it to the main transport network but we’re also helping to protect and create local jobs at such a critical time for many.
“Major transport projects guarantee significant work for the construction sector and their employees which is why schemes such as these are so important to get on with.
“As well as connecting the east and west of Birmingham by tram, this extension will also provide a direct route for many across the Black Country to travel directly to the new Curzon Street station for HS2.”
As the project moves forward, further works will be carried out in the summer to connect the new tracks with the existing line at Bull Street ahead of passenger services opening to a new terminus in Edgbaston later this year.
West Midlands Metro services will terminate at the Bull Street tram stop later this summer while these works are carried out and further details will be confirmed over the coming months.
Trans services are set to return to their regular stops before the autumn as testing and commissioning work is set to begin on the Westside extension from Library of Birmingham to Hagley Road, Edgbaston.
The work in Lower Bull Street will be completed by spring 2022 and the overall Eastside extension is due to open in 2025.