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Metrolink: 2nd City Centre Crossing Work Starts

Welcome news in terms of tram movements but what about cars and taxis?

Written by . Published on December 23rd 2013.

Metrolink: 2nd City Centre Crossing Work Starts

WORK to deliver a second Metrolink line through the heart of Manchester city centre – providing greater capacity and resilience across the network – is set to begin in January.

However the caution here is how difficult it will make crossing from east to west in the city centre by private car and taxi. 

The three-year programme will see the creation of the new multi-million pound Second City Crossing, enabling more trams to cross the city centre and, in turn, increasing the capacity, flexibility and reliability of the system.

The line will begin in Lower Mosley Street and run through St Peter’s Square, before turning down Princess Street and then heading along Cross Street and Corporation Street before re-joining the existing Metrolink line just outside Victoria station.

Landscape map

Landscape map

As part of the project, new stops will be built in Exchange Square and St Peter’s Square.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This will be the starter pistol for a marathon civil engineering project that is an essential part of the Metrolink expansion.

“The Second City Crossing (2CC) will increase the capacity, flexibility and reliability of all of the network’s new lines and enable them to operate to their fullest.

“As such, it will play a vital role in helping to build a strong and prosperous economy for Greater Manchester.”

Powers to install the second Metrolink route were formally approved by the government in November following a public inquiry earlier this year and a major public consultation in 2011.

The first stage of work – to divert gas pipes and electricity and phone cables buried in the highway away from the footprint of the new tramway – will start on Corporation Street, between Withy Grove and Market Street, from 6 January.

This will see trenches dug so new ducting can be laid for pipes and cables. Localised road closures and diversions will be put in place but access to businesses in the area will be maintained at all times.

A number of work sites will also be set up in the St Peter’s Square area, and TfGM is working closely with Manchester City Council to minimise any disruption and ensure the works are integrated with other developments in the city centre.

All of this will mark the formal starting point of a major, transformational civil engineering programme expected to be complete in early 2017 and which includes plans to redevelop and expand the Deansgate-Castlefield and Manchester Victoria stops.

From January onwards, work will be carried out at various sections of the 2CC route until its completion. However, subject to ERDF funding, the section to Exchange Square could be complete in 2015.

Confidential has asked whether there will be any access for private vehicles and taxis along Cross Street and Princess Street.

Confidential understands the necessity of a second city centre line. The present single transverse across the city is at breaking point given all the recent line openings in Greater Manchester. The whole system is subject to delays when that one route has problems.

However the caution here is how difficult it will make crossing from east to west in the city centre by private car and taxi.

From a tourism point of view, for example, it's already impossible to conduct coach tours for visitors around many of the showpiece parts of the city centre due to Town Hall transport policy. Instead loops have to be made through redevelopment or rundown areas. It doesn't look good. 

The closure of Cross Street, the central spine of the city centre, will inevitably cement an unwelcome separation for many workers, shoppers and visitors to Manchester between east and west areas. 

Confidential has asked whether there will be any access for private vehicles and taxis along Cross Street and Princess Street.

This is the response (and an update from the original article published).

"Cross Street will be shared with general traffic from John Dalton Street/Albert Square  to Market Street in a northerly direction – so if you’re coming from Deansgate it would be John Dalton Street, turn left on to Cross Street and then turn right in to King Street.

'Similarly if you’re travelling from New Market Street in a southerly direction there will be a left turn off Cross Street into King Street.

'There will, however, be a ‘tram-only’ section from King Street to John Dalton Street/Albert Square (in that specific direction) so there will be no left turn from King Street on to Cross Street. There will also be some further changes (‘loading only’ restrictions for example) along certain sections of Cross Street.'

 This video gives an indication of the changes but does date from 2011 so there might be slight differences to the actuality of work carried out.

Portrait map

Portrait map

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Liam ADecember 23rd 2013.

I just can't wait for the purple trees in St Peter's Square

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomDecember 24th 2013.

Me too...

AnonymousDecember 24th 2013.

If the finished St Peter's Square looks anything like this render (including purple trees), I'll show my @r$€ in Primark's windows

Ghostly TomDecember 25th 2013.

I've seen thee trees in flower and they are VERY purple, you had better let PRIMARK know you are on your way...

AnonymousDecember 23rd 2013.

just seems so much money, so much work, so much upheaval for so little extra benefit. You can walk from any point along the new route to the existing in no more than 5 minutes. Why not spend the money on upgrading the existing signalling system which is so obvioulsy outdated?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 24th 2013.

The signalling system was upgraded in the city centre during summer hence the platform displays now work. It is being rolled out across the network currently. The limit to city centre capacity is the physical amount of track rather than signaling. The new route will also alow greater flexibility, trams will be able to use an alternative route if there is a problem in the city centre.

AnonymousDecember 23rd 2013.

I am not persuaded that there is any real extra capacity. Once the trams get to Castlefield you still have the same problem of a single track!!

Poster BoyDecember 24th 2013.

Does anyone seriously think the City cares one jot about the affect on car movements (or taxis for that matter)...?

Ghostly TomDecember 24th 2013.

I still think this new route should have been sent along Deansgate. And maybe along Chester Road... The congestion between St Peter's Square and Cornbrook is bad already, this will make it worse and I hear there are plans to link the Trafford Centre by tram that will also be using that route....

Justin JohnsonDecember 30th 2013.

Should've gone up Deansgate even the fat controller can see that

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