WMCA gives final nod for Wednesbury-Brierley Hill Metro funding

WCN Editorial Team 26 Mar 2019 EUROPE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has given the final approval for funding the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro rail link.

The project will link Dudley with Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the national rail network.

Work on the scheme, which is expected to spur the construction of 2,000 new homes a year, one million ft² of commercial space and 34,000 permanent jobs, will begin later in 2019.

Council tax from the extra new homes that could be built is estimated to bring in £580m, providing funding to local services.

The project will also improve connectivity to the DY5 business and innovation enterprise zone at Waterfront in Brierley Hill, and link with the planned multi-million-pound transport interchange in Dudley town centre.

The Midland Metro Alliance will plan, design and deliver the Wednesbury-Brierley Hill route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the WMCA.

TfWM has begun a feasibility study to determine what mode of transport will best link Brierley Hill to Stourbridge to improve connectivity in the borough.

Dudley Council leader Councillor Qadar Zada said: “There’s no doubt this is a trailblazer project which will have a massive impact on the borough, beyond transportation.

“It will be the catalyst for new homes, commercial opportunities, jobs and much more for this borough.

“It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but the funding makes this scheme a reality and I am very much looking forward to seeing work start in Dudley as soon as possible.”

Once the link becomes operational, there will be up to 17 new stops along the 11km of track. The new system will also cut down journey times by half compared to travelling by bus.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line will be a true game-changer, bringing huge benefits to this part of the Black Country and acting as a catalyst for new housing, jobs and leisure opportunities.”

WMCA portfolio holder for transport and City of Wolverhampton Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence said: “This will be the biggest light rail scheme in the UK when work starts, and is a scheme which has been talked about for a long time now.

“I am delighted the funding for this scheme has been approved by WMCA so work can get started, and the people of Dudley and the wider Black Country can enjoy better public transport links into the rest of the West Midlands, along with the new visitors and opportunities it will bring to their area.”

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Image: Dudley Council CEO Sarah Norman, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Dudley Council leader Cllr Qadar Zada and Sandwell Borough Council leader Cllr Steve Trow celebrate the funding approval for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro. Photo: Courtesy of West Midlands Combined Authority.

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