Transport for Greater Manchester and Rochdale Council said talks are progressing well with potential contractors to build the town's new interchange and work should start on site in spring.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, and Cllr Colin Lambert, leader of Rochdale Council, paid a visit to the site this week to discuss the development's place in the regeneration of the town centre.
The government gave full and final approval for the new £11.5m interchange in February. The new interchange will have an integrated hydropower plant that uses the River Roch. Land currently occupied by the bus station will be used as part of the wider £250m town centre redevelopment.
The interchange is scheduled for completion in 2013 and will operate as a bus station, Metrolink stop and taxi rank.
Fender said: "Securing the full and final approval for the interchange was crucial because it triggers a number of other projects.
"So not only is Rochdale Interchange going to be a fantastic, modern gateway for the town centre – and a European first, thanks to its hydropower plant – it is also going to play a crucial part in making Rochdale an exciting destination for residents, shoppers and businesses alike."
Lambert said: "The interchange is the catalyst for the multi-million regeneration which is transforming Rochdale town centre. It means we can demolish the existing out-dated bus station to create a new retail and leisure development.
"It's in the ideal location next door to Number One Riverside, our new library and council offices, and opposite the town centre Metrolink stop making it easier for everyone to come and visit Rochdale."
The project team includes Aedas Architects, Jacobs UK, Marston & Grundy, Davis Langdon LLP and Atkins.
Transport for Greater Manchester is an executive body of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Transport for Greater Manchester Committee is a Joint Committee of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the ten district authorities of Greater Manchester, and advises on transport policy.