£4m transport interchange to be unveiled

ONE of Hartlepool's most important public transport developments for decades will be officially unveiled tomorrow.

A new 4m transport interchange, on the eastern side of the Marina Gateway Bridge, next to the town's railway station, is ready to open to the public.

It means Hartlepool has a new interchange with a coach transfer area, taxi ranks, cycle links, parking for commuters and a car drop-off area.

Up-to-date travel information, pedestrian links to Hartlepool town centre and three bus stands will also be part of the set-up.

The interchange has CCTV facilities and experts say it will give an improved image of Hartlepool in the eyes of people arriving by train.

They say the interchange will also capitalise on rail services improvements, both already made and planned, on the Durham Coast Line between Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

Coun Peter Jackson, Hartlepool Council's Neighbourhoods and Communities Portfolio Holder, said: "This is the single most significant transportation project to be developed in Hartlepool for many years and its benefits will be wide-ranging."

Councillor Pamela Hargreaves, Hartlepool Council's Regeneration and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, said: "Good transport infrastructure is vital if we are to attract new investment and new jobs to the town."

Richard Lungmuss, Network Rail's route director, hailed the development as "great news" while Matthew Beeton, Northern Rail area director, said: "The interchange together with the improvements to the station facilities and environment will provide a modern transport solution for passengers and visitors to Hartlepool."

Iain McInroy, area managing director for Arriva North East, added: "Public transport is a vital part of any community and this investment will provide the people of Hartlepool with a modern integrated transport interchange.

"We are looking forward to using the facility and would encourage more people to leave the car at home and give public transport a try."