The delivery of a new transport hub in South Shields has moved a step closer after a contractor was given the green light.
Bowmer and Kirkland has been hired to build the interchange, which forms phase two of South Tyneside Council's £100million 365 regeneration masterplan for the town centre.
The North East-based construction firm is now on site carrying out preparatory works after being appointed by the council and development partner Muse Developments.
The company also built The Word in South Shields market place, which formed the first phase of the 365 scheme.
South Tyneside Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm, said: “Bowmer and Kirkland have a proven track record – not least with The Word – of successfully delivering on major projects such as this and we are delighted to have them on board again.
“This is another significant step towards making our vision for the town centre a reality.
“As a North East firm, their appointment will create job opportunities for local people and help boost the local economy.”
A new bus interchange and relocated Metro station will be brought together in the new hub.
Bowmer and Kirkland construction director Andy Kinnear said: “We are delighted to be involved in this prestigious project and to continue our fantastic working relationship with Muse and South Tyneside Council and to forge new relationships with other stakeholders.
“South Shields transport interchange is an exciting development that we look forward to completing on time and to the highest levels of quality.
"Being locally-based, we embrace any local development opportunities and will seek to promote local employment internally and through our supply chain throughout this project.”
The building is scheduled to be completed next summer, with Bowmer and Kirkland working alongside the council, Muse Developments and Nexus.
Nexus director of finance and resources John Fenwick said: “I’m delighted that a contractor has now been appointed for this exciting project.
“Works can now get started on the new transport interchange for South Shields, delivering a step change in the quality of the waiting facilities for bus and Metro users in the town centre.”
Demolitions in the town centre are substantially complete and the site will be cleared ahead of construction starting.
Muse Developments regional director David Wells said: "Bowmer and Kirkland were an integral part of the team for phase one, the construction of The Word and refurbishment of the Market Place, so we’re very pleased to be working with them again on the next phase of the 365 regeneration plan.
“The transport interchange is a complex project which will require the very highest standards of construction management experience, so we’re confident that the project is in good hands and are excited to see this ambitious plan now taking shape.”
Demolition of the existing Metro station will be completed following the construction of the interchange.