STEPPING into Swindon will be a more pleasant experience in future, the company behind work to the train station forecourt has promised.
A major nine-month programme of work, costing nearly £2m, is on course for completion by the end of the summer.
Forward Swindon, the council’s regeneration company, commissioned the project to provide a more impressive and user-friendly gateway to the town.
Contractor Britannia Construction, which started the work in late September, hoped to complete the work at the end of June, but heavy rain means it is likely to finish next month.
Nearly £1m came from Government, while the remainder of the cost was met through Swindon Council and Network Rail.
The scheme gives pedestrians priority through an uncluttered space which will feature seating, planting and lighting.
Taxi ranks, drop offs and bus stops will be in well-defined locations.
Julia Falcon, the head of communications and marketing at Forward Swindon, said: “It’s going to be safer and much more convenient than before.
“People were dropping off relatives then coming out of the station into bus and taxi lanes and pedestrians were having to negotiate the traffic when they left the station.
“The forecourt will also be much more pleasant.
“Swindon station is very busy and is the gateway to the town, but the forecourt might not have reflected this.
“The upgrade will present Swindon in the best light.”
Britannia Construction is well into the final phase of the work and says it is progressing well, despite a number of challenges, including the exceptional weather, which has also delayed other construction projects nationwide.
Contracts manager Rob Rees said: “We are still looking to complete the project by the summer – most likely July.
“But we have had a particular struggle with the exceptionally wet conditions lately, meaning there are certain areas where we cannot carry on paving as quickly as we would like.
“We have also experienced some flooding on site, which has been exacerbated by overflow from the adjacent Sheppard Street car park, situated on higher ground.”
The new-look station forecourt will mean priority for pedestrians, safely separating them from the traffic.
The whole area will be made more attractive with granite paving, trees, signs, lighting and seating.
One of the key issues faced by those arriving in Swindon via train is how to reach the town centre by foot.
Apart from new signage, the design will bring the same granite surfaces on the forecourt over the pedestrian crossing opposite and up to Wellington Street, to clearly indicate the route into the centre of town.