Construction of Rochdale's new £11.5m bus and tram interchange is due to start on site this month after Kier Construction was awarded the contract through the North West Construction Hub.
The interchange is being funded by the Department for Transport, Transport for Greater Manchester and Rochdale Council. Final funding approval was granted by the Government in February this year. Construction is expected to be completed next year.
The new facility in Smith Street, next to the River Roch and the town centre's new Metrolink stop, will be the first building of its kind in Europe to have integrated hydropower generation.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM Committee, said: "It will not only be a very striking gateway to Rochdale and a vast improvement for both passengers and bus operators, it will also be a European first thanks to its innovative hydropower plant. So it's a fantastic project and I'm really looking forward to it opening next year."
The building was designed by Aedas Architects, alongside Jacobs, Marston & Grundy, Davis Langdon and Atkins.
A hydroelectric turbine has already been installed next to the interchange site which converts energy from the river as it flows rapidly through a weir. The weight of the water turns the screw-shaped turbine, generating electricity. The hydroelectric turbine produces up to 86,000kWh of electricity every year, which will help to reduce the interchange's carbon footprint by over a quarter.
The turbine is driven by an 'Archimedean screw', which was supplied by Spaans Babcock, a specialist contractor with a local base in Heywood. There is also a fish pass, funded by the Environment Agency, which helps fish to swim upstream past the turbine to migrate and spawn.
Funding for the power element of the project came from Transport for Greater Manchester, the European Union's INTERREG IVB Ticket to Kyoto project, the Northwest Development Agency, Rochdale Council and the Environment Agency.