Swindon Council appoints contractor for £33 million bus boulevard scheme

Bus Boulevard

Swindon Borough Council has appointed infrastructure contractor Colas Projects Ltd to deliver its £33 million bus boulevard scheme.

The council has also released new images showing how the town centre will be transformed by the project.

The Bus Boulevard scheme, which has been developed by Swindon Borough Council, will see Fleming Way completely transformed to accommodate all bus services in the town and will include a new public open space on the north side with a green central spine to increase biodiversity.

Colas will plant trees and bee-friendly plants which will introduce more greenery and biodiversity to the area. The new planting will not only increase the biodiversity in the town centre, but it will also have a function, forming part of the Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems which will run down the centre of the carriageway.

The scheme will also feature much-improved pedestrian and cycle routes and the removal of the 60-year-old Fleming Way underpass creating an attractive route from the train station into the town centre.

Much of the funding comes from the government’s Future High Streets Fund, which granted £25 million. The council estimates
that the overall project will help to increase land values in the area by an additional £34 million, and kick-start wider benefits to town centre and increase Swindon’s economic productivity by £28.7m over the first 20 years.

Key elements of the upgrade scheme include:

  • Removal of the underpass to make Fleming Way the same level as the town centre shopping area and The Parade, replacing it with a large pedestrian crossing to make it safer
  • Removal of the ageing bus station and developing the Kimmerfields site to build new homes and offices
  • Introducing more pedestrian crossings along Fleming Way to improve the connection between the town centre and railway station
  • Creating a greener environment by planting more trees and ‘bee-friendly’ plants
  • Providing new cycle routes on Fleming Way to connect the town’s western and eastern cycle flyers

Work is expected to start in the next couple of months.

Cllr Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for infrastructure, transport and planning, said: “This scheme is so important for the area because it will help unlock wider regeneration.

“In recent times, the low land values have made it less attractive to investors and developers, so we are using government funding to improve the local area and make it a place where they want to invest.

“We are effectively giving the rejuvenation of the town centre a kick-start, helping us bounce back strongly from the shift to online retail and the pandemic.”

Executive director for Colas, Sean Jeffery, said: “I am delighted that we have secured this exciting opportunity to work with Swindon Borough Council in delivering their vision for a greener more accessible solution in Swindon Town Centre. I am confident that the Colas team will deliver a great project.”

Recent Colas projects include an upgrade of the M62 motorway in Leeds, a runway extension at Birmingham Airport, and the construction of a park and ride at Portsmouth.