The Mersey Gateway Project

Bridge project is top of the class

March 2, 2015adminNews

Halton pupils are getting lessons in bridge and road building, thanks to a new education programme on offer from Merseylink.

Weston Point Community Primary School in Runcorn is one of the first local schools to take part in the programme and host the Mersey Gateway team at its school assembly.

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(L-R) Rhys Melvin, Ellie McGrath and Matthew Dennett from Weston Point Community Primary School in Runcorn with headteacher Noreen Curphey, Mersey Gateway volunteer Barrie Davidson and Merseylink’s Karen Nicholson.

The construction consortium behind the Mersey Gateway Project has developed the programme in partnership with Halton Borough Council, to tell the story of the new bridge to primary schoolchildren in the borough.

The initiative involves a presentation to school assemblies focusing on the history of Halton, why a new bridge is needed, and how it is being built. It also includes important safety messages to ensure that youngsters understand the dangers and reasons why they should never play on, or near, construction sites.

Mersey Gateway volunteers are partnering with schools to deliver the presentations. The volunteers have all completed Merseylink’s comprehensive training programme and are well-equipped to answer questions on everything from local history and heritage, environment and ecology, to the bridge and road network construction process.

Merseylink worked closely with St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes to pilot the programme. It is now available to all 55 primary schools in Halton.

Pupils Rhys Melvin, Ellie McGrath and Matthew Dennett volunteered to take part in the presentation and help demonstrate how a cable-stayed bridge stays up.

Rhys, a pupil from Year 5 at Weston Point Community Primary School, said:

“I thought the presentation was really interesting. It helped me to understand why we need a new bridge and the purpose of it. Well done everyone.”

The school’s headteacher, Noreen Curphey, was delighted with the presentation.

“The children had been asking lots of questions about the work going on in the river so we contacted Merseylink and they arranged to come and visit us. The presentation to our school assembly was fantastic and very relevant to this age group. We are looking at bridges as one of our creative curriculum topics, so it fits in well with our long-term planning,” she said.

Mersey Gateway volunteer, Barrie Davidson, said:

“The presentations have been specially developed so we can explain about bridges and their purpose in a fun and interactive way. Some schools are learning about bridges as part of the curriculum and this is where we can help, by sharing our knowledge of how a cable-stayed bridge is built.”

Cllr. Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said:

“It’s brilliant to see our young people learning about the new bridge and the positive impact that it will bring to their local area. It’s exciting to feel part of something so iconic, and I’m sure that they will remember this time for many years to come. I’d avidly encourage schools across the borough to get in touch with Merseylink and take up the opportunity of a presentation.”

To arrange a school presentation please email

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project