No, the aliens haven’t landed in Wigan!
This is in fact a new, state-of-the-art lightweight roof which has been fitted to the town’s new bus terminus, marking a significant milestone in the construction of the new building.
The installation of the roof – which is partly made up of Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE), the same material used in the domes at Cornwall’s Eden Project and for the roofs at Bolton, Rochdale and Altrincham interchanges – is now complete.
The ETFE sections of the roof are fully recyclable and extremely durable as it is unaffected by sunlight, pollution and weathering.
It is a largely clear material too, creating a bright environment in the bus station and reducing the facility’s energy consumption.
ETFE roofing weighs approximately one per cent of the equivalent amount of glass, meaning it will impose significantly less pressure on the bus station’s structure.
In addition, the first sections of the bus station’s concrete carriageway have now been cast, another important step in the project’s rapid progress.
The new bus station is being delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Wigan Council and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Alex Cropper, TfGM Head of Projects Group, said: “The ETFE sections of the roof are not only visually striking but also have many structural and environmental advantages, making its completion an exciting moment in the Wigan Bus Station project.
“Once the bus station is open, people will be able to wait for their bus in a light, bright and comfortable environment.
“It’s great to see the rapid progress that has been made on the project over the last few months.”
Becca Heron, director for economy and skills at Wigan Council, said: “Completing the roof is a real milestone.
“The new bus station will transform a key gateway into the town centre and provide much-improved facilities for passengers, including comfortable and safer waiting areas, a ticket and information outlet and retail facilities.
“It is a key part of our town centre regeneration programme, supporting the economic growth of Wigan.”
Funding for the development is being supported by central Government through the Greater Manchester Local Growth Deal Programme.
Ahead of the bus station’s reopening, TfGM will be keeping passengers updated on the progress of the project through posters on site hoardings, a TfGM webpage – http://www.tfgm.com/wigan-bus-station – and on the @OfficialTfGM Twitter feed.
The old station closed last summer and the new version is expected to be open for business before the end of this year. In the meantime passengers have been asked to be patient as buses are forced to park up on nearby Dorning Street and Hallgate.