Visitors to Wolverhampton city centre are being told by traders it’s business as usual as changes to bus services come in to effect this weekend.
They are being introduced from start of service on Sunday March 18 as work gets underway to extend the Midland Metro tram along Pipers Row to the railway station as part of the £150 million Wolverhampton Interchange project.
The works in Pipers Row will mean some services currently using the adjoining bus station will be affected.
Some will have different stops inside the station while others will have temporary stops outside.
But Wolverhampton Business Improvement District director Cherry Shine urged people not to be put off coming into the city centre as work on the extension gets underway.
She said: “The tram extension project is an exciting development for the city of Wolverhampton.
“There are lots of great shops, bars, hotels, theatres and attractions that are all open as usual during the this next stage of construction and we are working closely with the Interchange Partnership to ensure it’s business as usual for all of our businesses and visitors.”
Bus services affected are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6/6A, 9 (Arriva), 10 (Arriva and National Express West Midlands), 22, 25, 26A (Diamond), 27/27A, 53, 59, 61 (Diamond) 79, 81, 82, 89, 126, 255/A, 256, 529, 713 and 891.
Bus users should go to the Network West Midlands website for more details on how their service may be affected.
Jon Hayes, head of network delivery for Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “We recognise these works may cause some short-term inconvenience but the benefits to the city of Wolverhampton once they are complete will be huge.
“We thank everyone for their patience and co-operation during these works and would urge anyone who uses these bus services to check how they may be affected.”
The Wolverhampton City Centre tram extension is being planned, designed and built by the Midland Metro Alliance on behalf of the WMCA.
It will branch off from the existing route, just before the current terminus at Wolverhampton St. George’s, to the Railway Station via Pipers Row.
Enabling works will start in Pipers Row from Sunday, with the road being closed to all traffic except for access to the courts. A diversion will be in place.
The main construction on the tram route will commence after the Easter Bank holiday weekend, and is due to complete in late summer.
The extension is part of the Wolverhampton Interchange, a construction project to create a renewed transport gateway for the city, including a new railway station connecting the bus and Midland Metro network via the extended tram route.
Building on the development of a new multi-storey car park, the Interchange will enable the delivery of 30,000 sq m of office, retail and leisure floor space, and £80m of private sector funding.
The tram will open for passenger service following the completion of the railway station construction, which is scheduled for 2020.
The Interchange scheme is being undertaken by Wolverhampton Interchange Partnership.
This consists of City of Wolverhampton Council, Ion Development (formerly Neptune Developments), Virgin Trains, Midland Metro Alliance, Network Rail, West Midlands Trains, Canal & River Trust and the West Midlands Combined Authority.