Top construction award for city centre Metro extension

Midland Metro’s Birmingham city centre extension scheme has scooped its second award in a month.

The joint delivery team of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Balfour Beatty carried off Construction Project of the Year at last night’s (Thurs 17 Nov) prestigious Insider West Midlands Property Awards.

It means an awards hat-trick for Midland Metro, which took two titles at last month’s Global Light Rail Awards, with Project of the Year Over €50 million for the city centre extension and Best Customer Initiative for the introduction of contactless payments.

Judges at last night’s ceremony said:

“Although this complex, challenging project was not without hiccups, it has been a hugely successful one and is already having a major impact on development and work across Birmingham and the Black Country.”Cllr Richard Worrall, chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) transport delivery committee, said:“I am delighted to see this project get the recognition it deserves.

“The extension was just the start of a major Metro expansion over the next few years thanks to our regional devolution deal.

“We will see £1.2 billion invested in public transport over the next 10 years, which will mean important new regional Metro links in Wolverhampton as well as Edgbaston and to Brierley Hill – which will in turn, provide the springboard for yet further extensions of the Metro network across our region in the coming years.

“And it will mean vital links that help the whole region reap the benefits of the HS2 stations in Birmingham and the NEC/Airport by 2026.”

Following opening the extension, from Bull St to Grand Central, in May, passenger numbers surged by 30% on the previous year.

It was part of a £128 million project including a brand new 21-strong fleet of Urbos 3 trams, a refurbished depot at Wednesbury and a new stop at Snow Hill station.

More than three million people a year are expected to take the Metro into the heart of Birmingham’s main shopping district, with an anticipated boost to the West Midlands economy of more than £50 million a year and 1,300 new jobs.

Trams run between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, serving locations such as the Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston.

Work has already begun extending the route from New Street Station to Centenary Square, with services expected to start running in 2019.

Funding has also been earmarked to extend the route further along Broad Street, past Five Ways and on to Edgbaston by 2021.

The route of the extension through Digbeth has also been chosen, running from Bull Street via Albert Street and on to the forthcoming HS2 high speed rail station at Curzon Street.

From there it would go along New Canal Street and Meriden Street into High Street Deritend, stopping at Digbeth Coach Station and the Custard Factory.

It is anticipated the line could be open by 2023.

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