Demolition of Preston's former indoor market car park is officially under way this morning (July 15).
The wrecking crew landed its first devastating blows to the condemned car park, off Ringway, shortly after 10am.
Contractors moved onto the site early this morning and secured the perimeter. The old car park is being razed to make way for a new multi-storey car park, cinema and leisure complex.
Preston-based demolition experts Bradley Group arrived on site at 5am with two high-reach excavators in tow.
Site manager Andrew said: "We're using two of our largest excavators, a 50-tonne and a 30-tonne excavator, which are fitted with hydraulic jaws to munch up the concrete.
"We're starting on the A59 road side and we'll be working our way down from the top storey to the ground floor over the next few weeks.
"The excavators are more precise than traditional wrecking balls and allow us to take the car park down gradually and carefully.
"Due to the location of the car park, near a busy road and other occupied buildings, we're not using our wrecking ball.
"Instead, our excavators take big chunks out of the concrete and munch them into dozens of football-sized bits of concrete ready to be taken away.
"It's a full days work and we'll be here till around 5pm every day until October when the job should be completed."
The demolition project is scheduled for completion in October/November.
Demolition of the car park will continue throughout the week, with a partial road closure planned for Ringway next Monday (July 22).
Preston City Council confirmed that the south easterly lane of the Ringway, directly next to the former indoor market, will be closed for seven consecutive days to allow the concrete ramp to be demolished.
The walkway between Lime House and the former Market Hall will also be closed for the same duration.
Shoppers can still access Iceland and JD Gyms from Starch House Square.
Preston City Council said it has worked closely with Lancashire County Council to minimise the impact on traffic, including re-programming of the traffic lights to aid the traffic flow out of the city centre.
"This next stage is an important step forward for regeneration in the area", said councillor Robert Boswell.
"This essential work will pave the way for the cinema and leisure complex including a modern multi storey car park, further enhancing Preston city centre for residents and visitors alike.
"We appreciate the ring road closure will cause some inconvenience for the public and local businesses and thank them for their continued patience and understanding whilst these works take place.
"We are continually working with our partners to keep the demolition project on schedule."