A STATION at the heart of Bolton’s commuter belt is to undergo a major park and ride expansion.

Horwich Parkway will receive 90 new car parking spaces and see existing facilities enhanced as part of a £510,000 project due to get under way this week.

The station’s owner, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), has launched the scheme, which has been part-funded by £221,000 from the national Station Commercial Project Facility Fund.

It will also feature improved lighting to boost security and extended CCTV coverage to include the new parking spaces and bike lockers.

The new spaces are expected to open by the end of the year and will bring the total number of parking spaces to more than 250.

The work will be delivered and managed by Bolton Council on TfGM’s behalf and will also include some landscaping, environment-ally friendly drainage and a safe pedestrian route to the station.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM committee, said: “Horwich Parkway is one of Greater Manchester’s most popular stations and these additional parking spaces will make it even easier for more people to use.

“Park and ride facilities like this make public transport a real option for people who might otherwise drive.

“By encouraging people to leave their cars behind and catch the train we’ll see fewer car journeys on the roads and less congestion — good for road safety and the environment.”

The work is expected to take 10 weeks and, while it is under way, some of the existing spaces will be taken up by the construction process, with transport chiefs asking commuters to be patient.

Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail, said: “These improvements bring welcome additional opportunities for our customers to park here. We have worked hard with our industry partners to bring benefits such as these to our passengers and are delighted to welcome them.”