Work has started on a new transport facility in South Shields, which will bring together a modern bus station and relocated Metro station.
The interchange forms Phase Two of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan.
Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: “This is the next piece of the jigsaw in our vision for the town centre.
“The Word and our other regeneration successes have drawn hundreds of thousands more visitors into the town centre so having top-notch public transport facilities, connectivity and a high-quality sense of arrival is vital.
“We are creating the right infrastructure to showcase our redeveloped town centre to residents and visitors.”
The council will work with partners Muse Developments and Nexus, and contractor Bowmer and Kirkland to deliver the project.
David Wells, regional director from Muse Developments, added: “We are delighted to reach the next phase of the South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan and see construction begin on the new transport interchange.”
The interchange is scheduled for completion next summer, with demolition of the existing Metro station to be completed once the new interchange is in place.
Managing director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “I’m delighted that work on the new £21m South Shields transport interchange is getting underway. This is a major investment in new facilities for bus and Metro passengers in the town.
“The new interchange will provide a brighter, better and more comfortable environment which we believe will help attract more people to South Shields for shopping and leisure.”
Planning permission was granted last year for the transport interchange, as well as outline planning permission for Phase three, a new retail and leisure development.
Bowmer and Kirkland will construct the new interchange. Andy Kinnear, construction director with Bowmer and Kirkland, said: “B&K are delighted and excited to have been appointed to construct the new South Shields transport exchange and associated road and public realm works.
“We are looking forward to working with muse and South Tyneside Council again following on from our mutual success on The Word project and we are equally excited and looking forward to building new relations with Nexus.
“We look forward to all parties combining to produce a fantastic new facility for South Shields.”
The project received £9.4m from the Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.
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