WORK has started on Blackburn’s new £5million bus station.
The start of the work, which has seen part of Ainsworth Street closed, was yesterday greeted as ‘exciting progress’ for the town.
An interim bus station has been opened off Ainsworth Street as the remainder of the area is closed to allow United Utilities to start cabling work.
Coun Maureen Bateson, head of regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said it was a good time for the town centre.
She said: “It is all happening very quickly. The construction people are all ready to go.
“There will be 14 bays for buses, toilets and an information point. “People will be able to purchase tickets and there will be some sort of refreshments.”
Ainsworth Street will become completely pedestrianised and shoppers and commuters will be able to access the new station from Penny Street, which links to The Mall.
Coun Bateson said: “It is a 38-week build and the completion date we have is in January.
“It is a great time for Blackburn.
“And It is all very exciting.”
The construction of the new facility is the first phase of the Pennine Reach scheme which is a £40 million major transport scheme that the council believes will improve links between Blackburn, Darwen and Accrington.
The Ainsworth Street closure will allow the construction of the bus station on the site of the former six day market and a new pedestrianised area in front of the Mall.
There will be 14 stands which will feature the latest technology to allow passengers to plan their journeys by bus.
It will also be fully manned.
That is in a bid to improve security and provide the travellers with customer information and ticket purchasing facilities.
The work on the £5million state-of-the-art station is due to be completed in January 2015.