UK: Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed on July 11 that it had signed the £200m contract for its delivery partner WSP and the MPact Thales consortium of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales to design and build the Trafford Park extension of the Metrolink light rail network.

Trafford Park is the largest major employment zone in Greater Manchester outside the city centre, with more than 1 300 businesses and 35 000 jobs. The 5·5 km mostly segregated Metrolink extension will start at the existing Pomona stop on the Eccles branch and have at six new stops at Wharfside, Imperial War Museum North, Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre retail complex. Utility relocation works have been underway since a groundbreaking ceremony in January and completion is planned by the end of 2020, taking the Metrolink network to 103 km and 99 stops.

The extension is the first major project to benefit from a devolution deal signed by Greater Manchester local authorities and the government in November 2014. Funding for the £350m project is being provided from the devolution deal with a £20m contribution from Trafford Council.

The contract was awarded as a variation on the existing agreement which saw MPT build the Metrolink extensions to MediaCityUK, Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury, Oldham, Rochdale and Manchester Airport as well as the Second City Crossing. ‘It makes absolute sense to continue the award-winning partnership’, said Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee. ‘I’m pleased that all formalities are now complete. It’s an existing and successful partnership and I know we are in great hands’.

‘We’ve built a strong relationship working with TfGM and MPT to deliver the vision of an integrated transport system across the city and we look forward to continuing’, said Ian Beaumont, Programme Director at WSP. ‘Our in-depth knowledge of the city and range of technical and programme management expertise makes us best-placed to oversee the next phase of this major infrastructure expansion’.