A £12m civil engineering contract has been awarded by the public sector to Birse Civils to prepare a former coalfield site in Leigh for redevelopment.
The site is owned by the North West Development Agency and the works are being funded by the Homes & Communities Agency under its National Coalfields Programme.
Birse will clean up derelict land within the site, divert the existing Plank Lane, provide site road infrastructure and build a 40-berth marina on the Leeds – Liverpool Canal.
Once ready, the site will be marketed to developers for the opportunity to build up to 650 homes and 30,000 sq ft of employment space at the 56-acre site.
Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: "It is excellent to see the start of the engineering works at Bickershaw Colliery. This is a substantial site with the potential to transform this area of Leigh."
Works will last for nearly two years and finish in summer 2011.