Government approves additional funding package for Mersey Gateway Project
The government has approved an additional £6million of funding for the Mersey Gateway Project to help finance the project’s development.
The funding, which will be paid over the next three years, underlines the government’s support for the project, the centrepiece of which is a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
Cllr Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board, said: “We have been working closely with the Department for Transport for many years on this project and this extra contribution from central government is excellent news. It means we are still firmly on track to deliver a new bridge and the new jobs, homes, transport infrastructure and inward investment that the associated regeneration programme will bring to Halton.”
Halton Borough Council submitted a bid for extra government funding to cover the costs of developing the project between now and the start of construction. The bid reflects the fact that the project has now been through a period of intense scrutiny from a wide range of government, professional expert and community representatives, and this has led to a number of changes that have affected the budget.
The Mersey Gateway Executive Board has recommended that the Council approve the revised development cost budget when it meets this week.
David Parr, Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council, said: “The meticulous planning and preparatory work of the team behind the Mersey Gateway project is ensuring we continue to make excellent progress towards the delivery of our vision of the Mersey Gateway for Halton and the region.
Last month the government confirmed that there will be a public inquiry into the project, a decision welcomed by Halton Borough Council. Although no date or venue has yet
been set for the public inquiry, it is envisaged that it will take place in Halton early in 2009.
If after the public inquiry the Secretary of State confirms the project it is envisaged that construction work will start in 2011, with the new bridge expected to open in 2014.