A MAJOR town centre street will be closed for more than four months to allow key work in the pioneering tram-train link to go ahead.
College Road will be shut from tomorrow until August 18 as the bridge over the railway is being demolished.
Engineers from Network Rail will replace it with a higher one so that overhead lines which will power the tram-trains can be safely installed underneath.
A temporary footbridge will be installed to allow pedestrians to get to the town centre from Masbrough, while town centre traffic and local bus services coming from Corporation Street will be diverted from Bridge Street to Centenary Way via Greasbrough Road.
Rob Cairns, route delivery director for Network Rail, said: “We recognise that 18 weeks is a long time for the road to be closed and thank locals for their patience while we complete this essential part of this exciting project.
“Tram-trains will bring new travel choices for people living in South Yorkshire as well as being a first for the UK.
“This is a challenging project and there is still much to do, including the construction of the tram-train stops at Rotherham Central and Parkgate and the completion of the overhead line power system.
“The work we have planned at the May bank holiday is a crucial step forward as we work with our partners to deliver the full tram-train service from Sheffield city centre to Rotherham Central and Parkgate next year.”
On the bank holiday weekend at the end of May \_—Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, \_— the old bridge will be demolished using a crane which will be based on council land at the back of George Street.
Work will also be carried out to bring the signalling system which controls tram-train movements into operation.
Trains will be diverted between Meadowhall and Swinton and will not stop at Rotherham Central station.
Buses will run between Meadowhall and Swinton and call at Rotherham Central.
Stephen Edwards, executive director for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), described the engineering work as “an important milestone towards making tram-trains a reality from 2018”.
Overhead masts have been installed between Parkgate and Tinsley in the past two months as part of preparation work for the tram-train scheme and the seven Citylink vehicles to be used on the new link have been tested in the past fortnight on Sheffield’s Supertram system.
They will be able to travel both on tram lines and existing railway lines.
A new section of track called the Tinsley Chord will be built to link the tram system to the rail line between Sheffield and Rotherham, new tram-train platforms will be built at Rotherham Central and Parkgate, and the network will be electrified.