A new £21million transport interchange for South Shields is on the right track after work got underway.
Construction has begun on the project to bring together a modern bus station and relocated Metro station in the town centre.
It is part of phase two of the South Shields 365 regeneration plans.
Coun Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council, 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 project will be delivered by the council and its partners Muse Developments and Nexus, as well as contractor Bowmer and Kirkland.
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.
“This is a great example of how a holistic approach to partnership working can yield the best results and we look forward to working closely with South Tyneside Council, Bowmer and Kirkland and Nexus over the coming months.”
The interchange is scheduled to be completed next summer, with the existing Metro station to be demolished after that.
Tobyn Hughes, the managing director of Nexus, said: "I’m delighted that work on the new £21million 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.
"We have worked hard with South Tyneside Council to develop and fund this new asset for South Shields, using money from the Metro: all change modernisation plan.
"This builds on the investment we have made in South Tyneside over the last few years, including new ticket machines, refurbished stations at Hebburn, Jarrow and Bede and more staff at Chichester and South Shields to assist passengers."
Planning permission was granted last year for the transport interchange, as well as outline planning permission for phase three, which is a new retail and leisure development.
Bowmer and Kirkland, the company which helped deliver The Word in phase one of the plan, 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.”