Construction work for this additional £275m extension has already begun with MPT carrying out all the design, construction and maintenance work for the new lines. Laing O'Rourke and VolkerRail, jointly M-Pact, will deliver all the civil and rail infrastructure requirements and Thales UK will provide all the electrical systems engineering works, including power and overhead line equipment, and the tram operating system under a standalone contract.
The works follow on from the original phase 3 contract awarded in June 2008, which was further extended in March 2010 to provide an additional 3.9km line to Ashton and 4.5km line to Didsbury.
Bryan Diggins, Project Director, M-Pact Thales, says: "It is a great achievement for the consortium to continue working together on this critical project. This award will allow us to complete the original vision for Manchester, providing the vital link from the urban areas of the city to the airport, and essential town centre links for both Oldham and Rochdale."
David Leather, Chief Executive of GMPTE, said: "Following the approval of funding support from AGMA and GMITA, we have concluded negotiations for the delivery of the long awaited expansion of the Metrolink network. Contracts have now been signed for new lines to Manchester Airport and the town centres of Oldham and Rochdale, adding to the construction that is already underway from Manchester through Droylsden to Ashton, from Manchester through Chorlton to East Didsbury and the conversion of the former heavy rail line to Rochdale via Oldham. This milestone in Metrolink history will see the system almost treble compared to today's network. With the support of our Delivery Partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and the experience of MPT we are confident of successful delivery of the new lines."
It is anticipated that trams will be running to Oldham and Rochdale town centres during spring 2014 and to Manchester Airport during mid 2016.