A new partnership that aims to ‘revolutionise’ the £1.2bn construction of new tram routes across the West Midlands has been launched.
The Midland Metro Alliance establishes a team of planning, design and construction specialists building four new tram extensions over the coming decade on behalf of the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The proposed Wolverhampton tram extension scheme
The alliance is a shift from the traditional style of delivering major infrastructure, where contractors and designers are typically appointed on a project by project basis.
The agreement envisages that all parties in the alliance will share the risks and rewards and will include a significant focus on how the partners work together and with stakeholders, businesses and the community.
Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the delivery arm of the WMCA, said: ‘The expansion of Midland Metro is a long-term investment programme and absolutely key to the WMCA’s vision for strategic growth and regeneration.
‘The devolution deal the WMCA has signed will help secure £4.4 billion especially for our growth strategy to make the most of the HS2 rail line arriving, and as part of that the alliance has a critical role to play to deliver £1.2 billion of schemes over the next decade.
‘We now have the funding in place to really push on expanding the Midland Metro and it is the perfect time for us to introduce this new way of working.’
The Midland Metro tram line runs between Birmingham’s New Street Station and Wolverhampton city centre.
TfWM four planned extension schemes include one in Wolverhampton, where ministers have just given the go-ahead for an £18m city centre extension, with completion scheduled for 2019.
The alliance consists of the WMCA, which owns the Metro, rail construction specialists Colas Rail – with Colas’ partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Thomas Vale, and Auctus Management Group - and a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann.