The project will see a new six stop line offering rapid transport connections to key business and leisure destinations on a 3.4 mile (5.5km) route to the intu Trafford Centre.
Boosting public transport connections to over 1,300 businesses at Trafford Park, Europe’s largest industrial estate, the route will also take in other major visitor attractions including Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum North and EventCity.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will continue its award winning collaboration with MPact-Thales (MPT) and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff on the scheme, having successfully worked together to deliver extensions to MediaCityUK, Manchester Airport, Ashton, East Didsbury and Oldham and Rochdale, with the finishing touches being applied to the Second City Crossing.
Advanced utility works are now underway, which will run concurrently with other enabling works. Some local traffic management measures will be required at sites on Barton Dock Road, Village Way, Village Place and Trafford Wharf Road.
Keeping people informed about the Metrolink expansion programme has been a key to its success and dedicated teams will continue to keep businesses, residents, employees, commuters and visitors to the area up-to-date throughout the project.
A series of drop-in events are currently taking place where people can find out more about the Trafford Park line expansion, which will take approximately four years to construct.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, said: “It’s great to see the first spades in the ground for yet another Metrolink line.
“Metrolink is one of Greater Manchester’s major success stories, helping to drive regeneration and boost local economies.
“Trafford Park is the largest industrial estate in Europe and deserving of first class transport links – and this new route also takes in other iconic destinations, from Old Trafford to the Trafford Centre.”
Trafford Council Leader, Cllr Sean Anstee, said: “I am delighted to be witnessing the start of works on the new Metrolink extension. This is a key milestone and supports our plans for Trafford to boost business investment, increase employment opportunities and the local economy.
“Trafford is an economic powerhouse that welcomes businesses and excellent transport links are a vital part of attracting new investment.”
Richard Paxton, general manager of intu Trafford Centre, said: “Plans to link intu Trafford Centre to Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network have been an important part of our ambitions for the centre since it was built in 1998.
“As one of the UK’s largest retail and leisure destinations and a major regional employer, we believe this vital connection between Greater Manchester as a whole and intu Trafford Centre will play a crucial role in the city region’s ongoing growth and development.”
Public support for the Trafford Park line was established at a major public consultation in summer 2014, where 89% of respondents were in favour.
Following a public inquiry into the proposals in 2015, Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, granted Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) powers to build the new line in October 2016.
The new Trafford Park line, which will increase the size of the Metrolink network to 64 miles (103km) served by 99 stops, will branch off from the existing Pomona stop.
Trafford Park itself is the largest major employment zone in Greater Manchester outside the city centre and is home to over 1,300 businesses and more than 33,000 jobs – with employees travelling from across Greater Manchester and further afield.
People can find out more or sign up to stay in the loop with all the latest news, updates and travel advice at www.tfgm.com/MetrolinkTPL.