23 December 2013

A ground-breaking moment for Metrolink

Work to deliver a second Metrolink line through the heart of Manchester city centre – providing greater capacity and resilience across the network – is set to begin in January.

The three-year programme will see the creation of the new multi-million pound Second City Crossing, enabling more trams to cross the city centre and, in turn, increasing the capacity, flexibility and reliability of the system.

The line will begin in Lower Mosley Street and run through St Peter’s Square, before turning down Princess Street and then heading along Cross Street and Corporation Street before re-joining the existing Metrolink line just outside Victoria station.

As part of the project, new stops will be built in Exchange Square and St Peter’s Square.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This will be the starter pistol for a marathon civil engineering project that is an essential part of the Metrolink expansion.

“The Second City Crossing (2CC) will increase the capacity, flexibility and reliability of all of the network’s new lines and enable them to operate to their fullest.

“As such, it will play a vital role in helping to build a strong and prosperous economy for Greater Manchester.”

Powers to install the second Metrolink route were formally approved by the government in November following a public inquiry earlier this year and a major public consultation in 2011.

The first stage of work – to divert gas pipes and electricity and phone cables buried in the highway away from the footprint of the new tramway – will start on Corporation Street, between Withy Grove and Market Street, from 6 January.

This will see trenches dug so new ducting can be laid for pipes and cables. Localised road closures and diversions will be put in place but access to businesses in the area will be maintained at all times.

A number of work sites will also be set up in the St Peter’s Square area, and TfGM is working closely with Manchester City Council to minimise any disruption and ensure the works are integrated with other developments in the city centre.

All of this will mark the formal starting point of a major, transformational civil engineering programme expected to be complete in early 2017 and which includes plans to redevelop and expand the Deansgate-Castlefield and Manchester Victoria stops.

From January onwards, work will be carried out at various sections of the 2CC route until its completion. However, subject to ERDF funding, the section to Exchange Square could be complete in 2015.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “It’s a significant piece of work and not without its challenges, but we have learnt a huge amount successfully delivering new street-running lines to Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale town centres and to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport and we will be drawing on this experience to keep disruption to an absolute minimum.

“We have also established strong links with businesses in the city and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to get in touch so we can keep them up to speed over the life of this project and beyond.”

TfGM’s dedicated engagement team, who have been engaging with stakeholders in the city for some time, will continue to share details on the delivery of the scheme directly with businesses and individuals throughout the project.

The team can be contacted by calling 0161 244 1555 (during office hours) or emailing future.metrolink@tfgm.com.

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