Work to carry out £1.4 million project to improve road safety for bus and tram passengers in West Bromwich has been completed.
The new Metro Plaza scheme was created to boost the public transport gateway to the town centre and links for shoppers, pedestrians heading toSandwell College Central Campus, the bus and metro stations.
Under the scheme a dilapidated subway that previously attracted anti-social behaviour was filled in and the width of the Ringway route narrowed to give visitors on foot priority over motorists.
The work was undertaken by Sandwell Council in partnership with West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority – Centro.
Metro Plaza was officially opened by Councillors Ian Jones, cabinet member for jobs and economy; Maria Crompton cabinet member for highways and environment; and Councillor Roger Horton, the council’s member for rail and metro at Centro.
Councillor Crompton said: “The Metro Plaza scheme is testament to what can be achieved when partners work together. From the outset the aim of the project was to create a high-quality public space that would give pedestrians, arriving by public transport, priority over road traffic vehicles, and to make sure that they could access the town centre easily and safely.
“The project has been delivered successfully with minimal impact to both pedestrians and road traffic vehicles throughout its construction, as a direct result of effective partnership working between Sandwell Council, Centro and the principal contractor Fitzgerald.”
The programme included the removal of a steep embankment between the tram station and the town centre to improve access and visibility for pedestrians. The area was dug out and landscaped to create new footpaths and stairs.
Trees have been planted, and new lighting and benches installed to create a public square.
The effort was part of the £3m Public Realm project funded by the European Regional Development Fund for improvements to paving, lighting, seating, bins and new trees planted in the town.
Councillor Horton said: “This new Plaza, along with new trams and the new colleges, is a great advert for the ongoing regeneration of West Bromwich town centre and of Sandwell as a whole.
“It creates a far better first impression for people arriving by tram to go shopping or to college and provides a safer, more pleasant environment for pedestrians. All this helps encourage more people to arrive by public transport which in turn helps cut congestion and pollution.”