TRANSPORT bosses have insisted work is steaming ahead on the new Bolton Interchange — despite criticism that building has come to a standstill.

Shops and properties in Newport Street, Great Moor Street and Johnson Street were knocked down in November to make way for the new £48 million Interchange, which will bring together a new bus depot alongside the train station.

But shopkeepers and residents have raised concerns that work has since stalled on the site, which is being developed by Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM).

Tom Heap, a part-time sales assistant at Big Size Menswear in Newport Street, said a lack of communication from transport leaders has led to rumours circulating about the future of the site.

The 62-year-old from Leigh added: “The general public needs to know what’s going on.

“People come into the shop and ask what’s going on with the bus station, and nobody knows. It’s impact-ing on businesses at the end of Newport Street, when they see the hoardings and think nothing is going on down there. It stops some people visiting the shops.”

A spokesman for TFGM said construction work would start on the new Interchange before the end of the year, but was unable to provide a date.

He added: “TfGM has completed a number of preparatory works on the Bolton Interchange site, including building demolition, ecology surveys, vegetation clearance, utility diversions and the installation of hoardings.

“There are still a number of these works yet to complete, such as the relocation of the existing Electricity North West substation, before construc-tion work can begin on the Interchange later this year.

“TfGM will continue to work with residents and stakeholders to ensure they are kept informed of developments.”

Cllr David Chadwick, the member in charge of transport at Bolton Council, said due to the scale of the building work and the co-ordination needed between many different partners, delays were inevitable.

He added: “We all want the Interchange to be up and running as soon as possible.

“It’s a massive project to co-ordinate and I’m not in the least bit surprised there have been a few delays.”