A metro extension linking Bull Street with Digbeth in Birmingham will not be ready in time for the Commonwealth Games, it has been confirmed.

The project may not even be completed by its original target date due to delays in the planning stage of the process, an officer for the combined authority said this week.

As part of Transport for West Midlands' (TfWM) multi-million pound metro project, a 1.7km line linking Line One at Bull Street with Digbeth was due to be completed by November 2022.

Chiefs had discussed the possibility of bringing that date forward to enable works to be finished in time for the games.

The project, which has an estimated budget of £152.2 million, was due to have four new stops at Albert Street, New Canal Street (HS2), Meriden Street and High Street Deritend (coach station).

One of the Metro trams currently operating in Birmingham.
One of the Metro trams currently operating in Birmingham.
 

During a recent meeting of the WMCA's Transport Delivery Committee, Conservative Cllr Timoth Huxtable questioned whether the project could be delivered in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games , citing the fact that 'a lot of people will be arriving at Digbeth coach station and will want to get into Birmingham city centre and beyond'.

However, responding to the query, metro project director Phil Hewitt said that the original start date was dependent on the government granting TfWM powers to begin construction, something which it has yet to do.

As such, he continued, there was almost no chance of the opening date of the line being moved forward, with little chance of it even hitting its projected opening date of November 2022.

 

"That (start date) was predicated on us having the powers last June, and having the funding in place by now," he said.

"The powers have not been awarded, and even if a decision was made tomorrow the powers would not be confirmed until the end of March, which is a nine month delay.

"That means that there is no realistic prospect that we could accelerate the work sufficiently to actually get in and do that - bearing in mind that once we’ve got the powers we’ve got to finalise the business case and get the government to approve the funding allocation.

"So based on where we’re at today, I would say there’s no prospect that we would be able to bring forward the Birmingham Eastside project ahead of its original date of November 2022.

"In reality I would suggest it’s somewhat behind that as well, simply because with no powers we can’t start work, and some of the key interfaces around HS2 and things like that have to start imminently.

"And without the powers we are going to have to reschedule how we work."