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Revealed: Laing O'Rourke / Volker / Thales JV confirmed for £350m Metrolink expansion

Revealed: A Laing O’Rourke / VolkerRail / Thales JV has won a £350m deal to expand Manchester’s Metrolink tram system.

Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed to Construction News that the MPT joint venture will build the 5.5 km extension to the tram, running between the city centre and the Trafford Centre.

MPT has been working with TfGM since 2008 and has already delivered four extensions to the tram system across two phases: the MediaCity line; the Airport line; the East Manchester and Ashton line; and the Oldham and Rochdale line.

It is currently working on the Metrolink’s second city crossing, which runs through St Peter’s Square in the city centre.

For the Trafford Park extension, VolkerRail and Laing O’Rourke will continue to be responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the civil engineering and track, while Thales will deliver the tram operating systems.

The extension was given the green light by transport minister Chris Grayling in October this year, with a £350m funding package already secured through Greater Manchester’s devolution deal.

TfGM undertook a 12-week public consultation in summer 2014, with a public inquiry following the year after.

Plans for the extension include six new stations – Wharfside, Imperial War Museum, Village, Parkway Circle, EventCity and Trafford Centre – which will link Trafford Park to the existing Metrolink network at Pomona, between the city centre and Salford Quays.

The line will pass under the Trafford Road Bridge and run alongside the existing promenade next to Manchester Ship Canal, before joining Trafford Wharf Road.

It will also cross the Bridgewater Canal before terminating outside the Trafford Centre.

Under current plans, the line will be operational by 2020/21.

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