A major first has been achieved on the Birmingham Westside Metro extension following the successful completion of the largest, continuous concrete pour on the project.
Time-lapse footage released today shows a total area of over 230m of concrete being laid along Broad Street, between Lee Longlands and Cineworld, in one effort as works to install the foundation for the new tram track to Edgbaston took a significant step forward.
The key engineering feat took 10 hours for the Midland Metro Alliance to complete, four hours ahead of schedule, beginning at 6am on Wednesday 24 June. A fleet of six trucks per hour from construction material supplier Aggregate Industries’ local network of plants were used to deliver 55 loads, equating to 360m3 of concrete.
It is the second major milestone to be reached on the project in 2020 following the laying of track and asphalt in Five Ways underpass earlier this year, marking another clear sign that the main construction is moving closer to completion.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Public transport has a critical role to play in our region’s future, including the short-term bounce back from coronavirus, and I am pleased to see this metro scheme mark another milestone. Once complete the Birmingham Westside Metro extension will offer people quick and convenient access to many attractions and businesses in and around Broad Street, and I am determined we press ahead and get it finished as soon as possible.”
Paul Brown, Construction Director for the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “The completion of the first continuous concrete pour on the project marks a momentous achievement, not only for the project but the construction team whose remarkable efforts allowed these works to be completed successfully and to schedule, even during these uncertain times and whilst maintaining all the government’s guidelines as well as social distancing at all times. They have adapted to changes in working practices in order to ensure progress continues to be made so that the area will be presentable when businesses start to return. The support and commitment of our suppliers has also been instrumental in helping us to complete such a large concrete pour safely and we are thrilled that these works have allowed us to support a local business, helping them to stay open during these times.”
Daniel Watts, Sales Manager at Aggregate Industries, added: “Being part of this significant infrastructure upgrade in Birmingham and working with the Midland Metro Alliance is very exciting for Aggregate Industries.
“We partnered with the alliance at an early stage on the scheme and have continued to work and integrate with all divisions in order to deliver a range of standard and bespoke concrete mixes. This latest milestone demonstrates how well the alliance operates and that the collaboration between our two businesses continues to go from strength to strength. Even at a time of uncertainty and having to adhere to a new way of working, we are able to achieve such significant progress so quickly – well done to everybody involved.”
Construction during the current Covid-19 crisis was able to continue after a number of steps and further government guidance were implemented to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public and the team.
When the route opens to the public in 2021, three new tram stops, connecting passengers to Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road, will follow from the current Library terminus, which opened for passenger service ahead of schedule in December 2019.
West Midlands Metro services will then operate between Wolverhampton and Hagley Road in Edgbaston, improving transport links across Birmingham and parts of the Black Country, making journeys faster and more accessible, in turn helping businesses and supporting more jobs.
The Midland Metro Alliance, working for Transport for West Midlands, are also extending the tramway in Wolverhampton, to Brierley Hill through Sandwell and Dudley, and out through the East of Birmingham city centre to Digbeth.