Council gives full backing to Mersey Gateway
Halton Borough Council has formally agreed the case for the Mersey Gateway project to build a new crossing over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
At a meeting of the full council on July 18th, it unanimously agreed the following motion:
- to note the progress made towards delivering the Mersey Gateway bridge
- to accept the financial case for the Mersey Gateway bridge can only be met through a tolling regime that encompasses both bridges, as without tolling the project is not deliverable; and
- to seek to maximize toll discounts for local residents and frequent users.
Councillor Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Board, said: “The project receiving the formal backing of the Council is another major step on the road to delivering the new crossing, which we hope will act as a catalyst for regeneration across the borough.”
“The government have made it clear that the only way that we will be able to deliver the project is by tolling. Placing tolls on the new crossing and not on the Silver Jubilee Bridge would not solve the problem, but we are looking at all the options for providing local residents and regular users with discounts.”
Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project Director, said: “This project has the potential to deliver new jobs and major regeneration benefits to Halton and the wider region. The team are continuing to work hard towards the ultimate delivery of the project and it?s good to know that we have cross-party support of the locally throughout the process.”
The Mersey Gateway will run from the Central Expressway in Runcorn to the Eastern Bypass in Widnes and ultimately connect with Speke Road heading towards Liverpool. At its midpoint, it is around one and a half kilometres to the east of the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge.
The new bridge will have three lanes in each direction across the river. It will be an iconic structure that will be recognisable across the north west and beyond.
Due to the scale and importance of the project there is likely to be a public inquiry into the new crossing before the Secretary of State for Transport can give final approval. Construction work on the project is due to start in 2011, and it is scheduled to open to the public in 2014.