The Mersey Gateway Project

Council rejects objectors alternative bridge plan

June 11, 2009LornaNews

The Mersey Gateway Project team has rejected a proposal put forward by opponents to not build a new bridge at all but to put tolls on the Silver Jubilee Bridge instead.

Steve Nicholson, Project Director, said: “We have continually considered the potential alternatives to building a new bridge and this has included looking the option of just tolling the Silver Jubilee Bridge. We completely reject this idea.”

He added: “Tolling the Silver Jubilee Bridge on its own simply isn’t a viable option. It wouldn’t deliver the regeneration benefits for Halton or reinstate the transport connections the region needs as a matter of urgency. Drivers would still pay but wouldn’t see the benefits that a new bridge can bring to Halton and the wider region.”

Consultation work previously undertaken by Halton Borough Council has established that people and businesses would rather see a new bridge developed with tolls than the Alliance’s proposal of not building a new bridge at all.

Under cross-examination at the public inquiry today (Thursday 11 June) Mr. Nicholson also revealed that the £500,000 per year that would be ring-fenced to improve sustainable transport in Halton is a minimum figure, and that the amount could be increased during negotiations with potential bidders.

He said: “Halton Borough Council has given a clear commitment that we will secure a minimum of £500,000 a year over 27 years to fund sustainable transport projects in Halton. When we start negotiations with potential concessionaires this figure might increase, which would allow us to deliver even more improvements in transport for local people.”

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