WORK on Mansfield’s new £11.6m bus station project is reaching an important stage as the former Station Road hill is effectively wiped off the map.
Around 5,000 cubic metres of earth will be cut out of the ground to level the raised area ahead of the next phase of construction work.
Residents will have heard the sounds of drilling and digging over recent weeks as construction work continues at the site, and recently Chad took a look behind the boarding to see the progress being made.
Bosses say the project remains on track to replace Mansfield’s current run down and dated bus station with a gleaming new interchange in the early spring of 2013.
Much of the work currently taking place involves foundations being driven into the ground and there are around 20 workers on site.
Senior project manager Paul Williamson said: “There have been no unforeseen problems other than the ground is very hard which makes some of the work difficult. Overall, it has all been going smoothly.”
Within the next few weeks, the raised area which used to make up Station Road will be cut out and the area flattened, which Mr Williamson says will be a major undertaking.
“Once this is done people can then look out for the first sign of steel going up and the building starting to take shape,” he said.
By early summer, work is also expected to begin on a 70m-long bridge which will connect the new bus station buildings with Mansfield train station.
Project manager for Nottinghamshire County Council, Paul Horn, says the stonework of the new buildings will fit in with the iconic nearby railway viaduct.
“It will match the viaduct in a nod to the heritage of the area,” he said. “We also want the community to get involved with the final look of the interchange.
“We are looking at putting some public art in the building, and as it is such a high building it could hang down from the ceiling, possibly on a transport or planetary theme.”
Paul also responded to criticism of the bus station scheme by cab firms in the town, who claim there is a shortage of provision for taxi ranks at the interchange.
“It is only a 20-metre walk to the taxi rank we will place on Quaker Way, under the railway viaduct,” he said. “They want to be inside the station but this is not possible on safety grounds. We think we have come up with a good solution.”
Community leaders see the building of a new bus station as vital to improving the appearance of the town and attracting new investment.
Coun Richard Jackson, the county council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, is delighted to see the plans coming to fruition.
“It is great to see it underway and when the steel works go in we will really start to see things taking shape,” he added.
Coun Kate Allsop, Mansfield District Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said it was ‘exciting’ to see how far the project had progressed.