Demolition of empty college building marks progress for Eastside Metro extension


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In Summary

General | 1st July 2022
The Birmingham Eastside Metro extension took a step forward with the recent successful demolition of a recently vacated college building in Digbeth signalling that construction for the route remains on track.

In Detail

The derelict building was pulled down by the Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), in order to make room for trams to turn from Meriden Street to Digbeth High Street.

The demolition work, which took place between April and June this year, was captured on a time-lapse camera with footage released by the alliance to mark the occasion (watch it here). The Kings Parade building, located on Dales End, is also set to be taken down before the close of the year following the completion of works in Lower Bull Street.

Construction activity for the extension is set to continue throughout the summer with some localised and discreet works during the Games. Following the international sporting event, Metro works will return to the area with activities to lay the first tram tracks expected by the end of the year.

Since construction began in Digbeth last July, the team have made significant progress on the urban realm works which are part of Birmingham City Council and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s masterplan to regenerate the area.

Peter Cushing, Director of the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “With a summer of sport almost upon us, it is great to be able to share an update on progress on the Metro scheme. It’s great to see the “Creative Quarter’s” new look beginning to take shape with attractive street scene improvements. I look forward to providing further progress on the project after the Games.”

David Hardman, Interim Deputy Chair, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) said: “In the last decade, the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan (EZIP) has helped drive the transformation of Birmingham’s city centre. This latest milestone highlights the progress our partners have made in delivering the Birmingham Eastside Metro Extension project which received £15.4 million Enterprise Zone funding. When complete, it will improve local connectivity into the new HS2 Curzon Street station whilst also creating a better environment for walkers, cyclists and public transport users.”

Although construction began in July 2021, the team have been busy working in the area since December 2020 upgrading and diverting existing utilities. Since last summer, construction became more visible with the removal of the existing road surface, the widening of footpaths and installation of new kerbing and paving across much of the high street whist maintaining two-traffic at all times.

Maria Ion, Project Director at the Midland Metro Alliance said: “As you can see from the timelapse footage, the part demolition of the Hartwells Building is the culmination of lots of hard work from a dedicated team. Construction in a vibrant part of the city is complex and not without its challenges. As such, there is a need to approach tasks in a steady fashion and adhere to the highest standards of health and safety.”

The £227m Birmingham Eastside Metro extension, will run from Bull Street, in the city centre, to Digbeth, adding four new tram stops to the Metro network. More than half of the 1.7km route is planned to be free of overhead wires, similar to the recently opened extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square.