The Five Ways underpass will close in both directions to all traffic from Monday June 3.

The roundabout is a strategic part of the city's middle ring road network, which is already groaning under the weight of road closures in the city centre.

Last September, Paradise Queensway was closed for at least a year - limiting motorists' options on that side of town on top of the closure of lower Broad Street.

From June 3, the West Midlands Metro tram extension will see the underpass closed in both citybound and outbound directions for the duration of construction until 2021.

And the Midland Metro Alliance said more restrictions would soon follow on sections of Broad Street for similar works.

Services to the new Metro terminus at 54 Hagley Road are expected to begin in late 2021 as part of the second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension.

An artist's impression showing a citybound tram returning from Hagley Road on Broad Street close to Cineworld at the corner of Bishopsgate Street
An artist's impression showing a citybound West Midlands Metro tram returning from Hagley Road on Broad Street close to Cineworld at the corner of Bishopsgate Street

The Five Ways underpass work will also mean access to the city's Broad Street entertainment district and Brindeyplace business quarter will also be even more restricted than it already is while tram works begin there.

Local attractions include the Library of Birmingham, Symphony Hall, ICC, Ikon Gallery, Sea Life Centre, Legoland Discovery and the Arena Birmingham.

Whether the underpass ever reopens to motorists or other forms of public transport has yet to be decided.

One of the area's current biggest problems is the weight of traffic trying to get down Bath Row off Islington Middleway's link from Five Ways.

 

One glimmer of good news is that the Metro extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 - before the Clean Air Zone charge is introduced in January, 2020.

But the Clean Air Zone charge will be operating for almost two years before the Metro link to Hagley Road is completed.

You can watch an video of how the the tram will look in action above.

Five Ways underpass looking towards Five Ways Island and Hagley Road
Five Ways underpass looking towards Five Ways Island and Hagley Road

Survey

Transport for West Midlands is urging the travelling public to complete their online survey to assist in travel planning.

it is available at this link here - but only until April 15, 2019.

So if you want to have a say on the future of transport in this area of the city now is the time to voice your opionion.

Or complete our poll here

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Should the Five Ways underpass be permanently closed to motorists?

1000+ VOTES SO FAR

View from almost below Five Ways Island towards Cineworld - citybound traffic is on the left, this right side is outbound
Five Ways underpass looking citybound

What is happening to the roundabout?

The above ground roads at Five Ways will remain open in all directions to allow access in and out of Birmingham city centre.

Roads and public transport will be busier than normal while these 'essential works' take place.

The advice will be to 'plan ahead, leave more time for journeys and consider switching to public transport'.

April 18, 2016: View from the top of the Park Regis Hotel towards the Five Ways Island
April 18, 2016: View from the top of the Park Regis Hotel towards the Five Ways Island

The council view

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “The expansion of the Metro and early Sprint works along the Hagley Road corridor will make it easier for those living, working and travelling in Birmingham to get around.

"Whilst works across the city are ongoing, it is important for people to plan ahead, consider using public transport or changing their journeys wherever possible.”

View showing the tram line being built on Paradise Street.
View showing the tram line being built on Paradise Street.

The West Midlands Metro view

The West Midlands Metro runs between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, serving locations such as the Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston.

Phil Hewitt, Director of West Midlands Metro, said: “When this route is open to passengers, thousands of people from Birmingham and the Black Country will have better access to the entertainment, hospitality and job opportunities offered in Brindleyplace and Broad Street.

The tram line will reach Broad Street's Symphony Hall and Centenary Square before the end of 2019
The tram line will reach Broad Street's Symphony Hall and Centenary Square before the end of 2019

"It will also help to reduce congestion along Hagley Road, providing commuters easier access into the city centre and beyond.

"We made a commitment last year to better coordinate road works and infrastructure projects with our partners, so as the Metro is extended people will also notice other work taking place, such as early investigations for Sprint.”

The Birmingham Westside Metro extension

The Pinfold Street to Hagley Road route will follow the Metro extension from St. Chads to Grand Central, which opened for passenger service in May 2016.

Once completed, the Metro will operate between Grand Central and Hagley Road in Edgbaston.

 

Five new tram stops will connect passengers to Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Hagley Road, with links to popular attractions including the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall.

Flashback: a lorry had overturned on the Five ways roundabout during the Friday rush hour on September 8, 2000
Flashback: a lorry had overturned on the Five ways roundabout during the Friday rush hour on September 8, 2000

The timetable

The first phase of the works, to open for passenger service in late 2019, will see West Midlands Metro services extend from Grand Central to Centenary Square.

The second phase of the route, anticipated to open for passenger service in 2021 will continue to Edgbaston.

Paul Brown, Construction Director of Midland Metro Alliance, said: “Shortly, we are to install complementary highway measures around Gas and Berkley Street, in the westside of the city, which are designed to make it easier for those who have to access Broad Street to get around during the works.

Officers outside House of Fraser (right) riding bicycles along Corporation Street's tram lines towards New Street and Grand Central
April 7: Officers riding bicycles along Corporation Street's tram lines towards New Street and Grand Central - House of Fraser is to the right

"We are working closely with Birmingham City Council, local Business Improvement Districts, Transport for West Midlands and public transport operators to minimise impact.

"As with our other projects, we aim to ensure the local economy benefits by sourcing goods and labour, wherever possible, from the local supply chain.”

View across Paradise Street towards Birmingham Town Hall on February 26, 2019
View across Paradise Street towards Birmingham Town Hall on February 26, 2019



The Midland Metro Alliance will shortly be writing to residents, businesses and educational institutions in the city centre to provide details of the closure, including links to travel planning information.

The team will also continue to work throughout the spring with Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham City Council on a number of engagement events to promote public transport, to encourage people to travel off-peak where possible and use real-time information to plan their journeys.

View across Paradise Street, with the Library of Birmingham to the left
View across Paradise Street, with the Library of Birmingham to the left

Help links

For any further information about the work, please visit the Metro Alliance website here

For wider Birmingham travel information visit the city councii's Connected link here and for information on public transport in the West Midlands visit the Network West Midlands website here

Midland Metro tram works outside Yorks on Stephenson Street in November 2018 have no end in sight
Pictured here in November 2018, the Midland Metro tram works outside the still-open Yorks (left) on Stephenson Street still have no end in sight four months later

Who's who

The Midland Metro Alliance consists of the WMCA, which owns the West Midlands Metro; a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann; and rail construction specialists Colas Rail – supported by Colas’ sub-alliance partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.