Demolition work has started on the site of Bolton’s new transport interchange.
Work began last week after pre-demolition measures such as utility disconnections were completed at the properties on Newport Street, Great Moor Street and Johnson Street whilst archaeological studies were also concluded in the area.
Demolition work is being undertaken by contractors MJ Finnigan and is expected to be completed in early 2014.
The archaeological investigation uncovered possible remains of Bolton’s industrial past, including foundations and footings from the old buildings.
The material recovered is currently being examined in more detail and a report will be produced with any finds and artefacts to be donated to the Bolton Museums and Archives Service.
The interchange project, which has been developed by a partnership between Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Bolton Council, will see a brand new, modern and fully accessible bus station built opposite the current train station on Trinity Street with the two facilities linked by a new enclosed pedestrian footbridge. The scheme also includes a cycle hub as part of a Greater Manchester wide cycling initiative.
The £48 million project is being funded through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund and will support Bolton Council’s Town Centre Transport Strategy.
The car parks to the rear of the site will remain open throughout the demolition period. However, the footpath linking Johnson Street and Newport Street has now permanently closed to the public for safety reasons.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “This is another milestone in the transformation of Bolton town centre. This marks the beginning of physical work on a new, up-to-date transport facility for commuters.
"We’re working hard to keep our town centre development programme moving and the transport interchange is a key part of our strategy.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee, added: “It is always exciting when a major project reaches a key milestone and these works move us a step closer to delivering major improvements for passengers while providing a modern, striking gateway to Bolton town centre.
“It is vital that such projects take into account the wider social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits of heritage conservation, which is why we had the archaeological evaluation excavations completed prior to demolition work.
“The interchange project will provide better links between bus and rail services, as well as improved waiting areas, passenger facilities, accessibility, information, and safety and security.”