Collaborative utility works get under way on Metrolink’s Trafford Park Line


Major utility diversions are taking place to allow the construction of a new six-stop Metrolink line to the busy Trafford Park industrial estate and intu Trafford Centre.

Up to 40 ducts and pipes will be relayed for electricity, water, gas, and telecommunications by one single contractor within each joint utility trench. When combined, the trench work totals 3.2km, which is equivalent to the length of over 213 double decker buses.


Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and MPact-Thales (MPT), who are delivering the new Metrolink line, have adopted this joint utility trench strategy, removing the need for multiple utility companies to dig up the road and footways over a significant period of time.


This collaborative approach has become a tried and tested process, having been developed over previous Metrolink expansions.


Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “A key benefit of delivering our phenomenal Metrolink expansion programme is that it has allowed the team to develop innovative and collaborative ways of working, such as the joint utility trench strategy.


“As a result, we’ve seen substantial cost savings against original estimates for utility diversions. We’ve also seen other significant programme benefits, most recently through the delivery of the Second City Crossing, our new line through the heart of Manchester and, significantly, the Manchester Airport line, which completed more than a year ahead of schedule.”


TfGM’s Head of Projects, Alex Cropper, said: “Working collaboratively in this way will substantially reduce the cost and time spent on necessary utility works, minimising disruption to surrounding businesses and road users.


“This is a fantastic example of finding innovative ways of working to lessen the impact of construction works on the local community.”


During planning for the Trafford Park Line, representatives from each utility company, Trafford Council, TfGM and MPT initially worked together to identify parallels within their designs. Electricity North West was then able to develop a detailed combined design for each utility trench.


Adrian Devine, Asset Diversions Manager for Electricity North West, said: “We’re proud to be powering Greater Manchester’s transport network with the new Metrolink line to Trafford Park.


“It’s our responsibility to keep the lights on for five million homes and businesses across the North West and to also connect communities by investing in essential major transport projects like the new Metrolink expansion.


“We’re coordinating a fantastic joint utility approach to ensure the project is carried out safely and with minimum disruption as possible to local residents, businesses and commuters.”


There are currently trenches along Barton Dock Road and Trafford Wharf Road and more to come along the route of the new line. These include pipes and ducts for up to eight utility companies: Cadent, Openreach, Colt, JSM, Vodafone, Gamma, United Utilities and  Virgin Media are all involved in this complex project, coordinated by Electricity North West.


As part of these works, some isolated and localised traffic management measures, including lane closures, may be required.


This £350 million Metrolink project will boost 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.


For more information the Trafford Park Line, visit or follow #MetrolinkTPL on Twitter.