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A tram extension in Wolverhampton, part of the West Midlands Metro extension, will not open in time for this summer's Commonwealth Games as previously planned.
Instead, the Wolverhampton extension will open later this year.
It had been hoped that it would be ready for the Commonwealth Games, which start in Birmingham on 28 July. Wolverhampton will host the cycling time trial, and work is underway to connect its railway station with the city's St George's stop.
Covid-19 delays have already caused the extension to be delayed by 18 months.
Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) is undertaking the work on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority. It has said that testing will begin after the Games finish on 8 August.
The alliance comprises West Midlands Combined Authority, which owns West Midlands Metro; a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann; and rail construction specialists Colas Rail, Barhale, Bouygues and Auctus Management Group.
An MMA spokesperson said the majority of construction activity was "set to be completed in early July", but "some minor public realm works" would not be finished before the Games.
They added the work was part of a "complex interchange project".
As part of the Wolverhampton Interchange, the West Midlands Metro extension will run from a junction with the existing West Midlands Metro system close to the current terminus at Wolverhampton St George’s through to Wolverhampton Railway Station. West Midlands Metro will stop at the city’s Bus Station on Pipers Row, before continuing to Wolverhampton Railway Station, allowing easy interchange with other modes of transport.
When the extension opens, the Metro will run from Birmingham Grand Central to Wolverhampton St George’s and Wolverhampton Railway Station.
The wider £1.3bn West Midlands Metro expansion project is the biggest light rail project underway in the UK. It will triple the size of the West Midlands Metro network and add 16 new stops. It has been gathering pace in recent months.
The first 300m track for the project was laid on the 11km Wednesbury to Brierley Hill in February. The same extension recently reached another milestone with a significant concrete pour at Castle Hill in Dudley.
Further along that extension, work has taken place to upgrade and uncover utility services at The Embankment in Brierley Hill. This is in preparation for construction in the near future.
The entire project is on course to open to the public in 2024.
This article first appeared on www.newcivilengineer.com
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