WORK to install the final bridge for the first phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension will enter a new stage in December as the project gathers pace.

Preliminary activity took place earlier in the summer and those in living and working in the Birmingham New Road area of Dudley are being asked to prepare for the next stage which is expected to take place in the first few days of December ahead of a new purpose-built bridge being placed sometime in 2024.

To allow vital works to take place later this year, a localised road and footpath closure will be implemented around 100 metres in either direction of the iconic Hanson’s bridge on Birmingham New Road, Dudley, which is to be replaced.

The changes will be in place from Friday December 1 until Monday December 4 with the road set to re-open by Tuesday December 5.

Tom Maplethorpe, project director at the Midland Metro Alliance, which is designing and building the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), said: “The start of works to install the final bridge for the first phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill scheme is an exciting milestone in the delivery programme. When these works are completed, it will mean that all the bridges along the route will be in place ready for the Metro’s opening.”

During the brief four-day closure, those travelling to or away from Dudley will be able to continue their journeys using a short diversion route via Tipton Road and Birmingham Road.

The Midland Metro Alliance is working closely with TfWM and both Sandwell and Dudley Councils to help minimise traffic disruption while the works are underway.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead and leave more time for journeys especially if travelling along Birmingham New Road, Tipton Road, or Birmingham Road; follow @wmroads on X (formerly Twitter) for real time traffic updates; check with public transport operators before traveling as some services will run on altered routes; consider walking or cycling if possible.

All local attractions and businesses will remain open as usual during the period of construction activity in the area.

Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader of Dudley Council, and cabinet member for communities and economic delivery, said: “We’re investing so much in our borough, so it is inevitable that there will be some delays to journeys while these vital works are taking place.

“We are committed to keeping the travelling public moving during this time. We are therefore asking people to plan ahead and consider their journeys wherever they can.”

Transport chiefs say the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension will boost public transport provision - providing much-needed links to existing heavy and light rail networks and helping to connect people to education, training and career opportunities further afield in the region.

When the first phase of the route opens to the public in late 2024, nine extra stops will be added to the West Midlands Metro network - linking people in Dudley town centre to Birmingham and Wolverhampton.