Essential utility upgrades to take place near Merry Hill for new Metro route14th December 2021
Works to uncover and upgrade utility services near to Merry Hill are set to get underway in the new year in preparation for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro route to serve the popular shopping destination in the coming years.
Preliminary works, which form part of the biggest light rail project underway in the UK, will take place along The Embankment in Brierley Hill early next year ahead of main construction commencing in the spring.
The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), will be carrying out the essential activity in three phases, with the first set to commence on Monday 17 January 2022.
This will involve a full closure of The Embankment to vehicular traffic for approximately five weeks. Motorists are being advised to plan ahead, leave more time for their journey and use real-time travel information provided by West Midlands Roads to stay up to date and keep the travelling public moving.
Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise, said: “The benefits to the borough and indeed the region of the Metro link will be wide reaching, increasing public transport provisions for students, residents, commuters and those visiting our borough, helping them to move freely across the West Midlands and make the most of all the opportunities our region has to offer.”
Mosin Khurshid, Head of Utilities at MMA, added: “Construction for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route has been well underway throughout 2020 and 2021, and we are delighted that we are now in a position to begin activity near to Merry Hill in 2022. When in operation, this new route will provide easy access to Merry Hill via fast and frequent public transport, which will be fantastic for the people of Dudley and the wider West Midlands. These works will lead to some disruption for road users, particularly during the first phase of activity, however we have been and will continue to work closely with Dudley Council and Transport for West Midlands to minimise impact wherever possible.”
The upcoming activity along The Embankment is expected to be completed ready for the February half-term period in order to benefit the retail and hospitality offerings within the area, which are expected to see an increase in visitor numbers during this time.
Jonathan Poole, Centre Manager at Merry Hill, said: “Merry Hill and the Waterfront will continue to be fully open to visitors throughout. Centre parking will also remain accessible via clearly marked diversion routes. As one of the leading retail destinations in the UK we’re delighted that these new regional public transport links are being added for the benefit of future visitors.”
Once the first phase of works are complete further utility upgrades and diversions will continue throughout the winter and early spring 2022 with localised lane restrictions in place.
Mark Corbin, Director of Network Resilience for TfWM, said: “It is important that we continue to keep the travelling public moving as easily as possible, and the social media accounts for West Midlands Roads are a great source of travel advice for road users. We would therefore advise those living, working and visiting Dudley during the first half of next year to visit @WMroads for live travel reports while these essential works are carried out. We will be working together with the Midland Metro Alliance to keep motorists up to date as the Metro development progresses.”
The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension will boost public transport in the Black Country, providing much-needed links to the existing heavy and light rail networks, and helping to connect people to education, training and career opportunities further afield in the West Midlands. Passenger services are expected to commence in 2024.
The extension will also play its part in helping to regenerate the Sandwell, Dudley and Brierley Hill areas, making it more attractive to investors and providing easy access to the region’s many and varied attractions via public transport. Once up and running there will be 14 new stops and the new system will also reduce journey times when compared to travelling by car.