Start on site for Exchange Square Metrolink

Construction work has begun on the first section of the Metrolink Second City Crossing through Manchester city centre.

The foundations will be laid first between Victoria station and Exchange Square, where there will be a new stop opposite Manchester Arndale.

An artist's impression of the Exchange Square stop, built as an island platform to maximise public space in the area, has been published ahead of the final design being agreed with city officials.

Transport for Greater Manchester has started work on this section of the route faster than expected after securing a £10.8m European Regional Development Fund grant earlier this year.

Trams could be running between Victoria and Exchange Square as early as winter 2015/16, which will give Metrolink the ability to run more trams between Shaw And Crompton and the city, ahead of the whole Second City Crossing being completed in 2017.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM committee, said: "To see the start of construction getting under way so soon into the life of this project is hugely encouraging.

"I am really pleased we're going to be able to bring the section between Victoria and Exchange Square into service so soon, because it is going to be of huge benefit for businesses in a very popular and busy part of the city centre."

The full route Second City Crossing route will begin in Lower Mosley Street and run through St Peter's Square, turn down Princess Street and head along Cross Street and Corporation Street to the new Exchange Square stop.

It will then run past the National Football Museum and Printworks to arrive at the Metrolink Victoria stop.

MPT is the contractor on the Second City Crossing. The MPT consortium is made up of Laing O'Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales UK. MPT was appointed by TfGM to design, build and maintain the Metrolink extensions.

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