Government minister visits Mersey Gateway
Government Minister Gillian Merron MP today visited the site for the new Mersey Gateway in Halton.
During her special visit the Transport Minister toured the Mersey Gateway site and surrounding areas to appreciate the wider regeneration benefits the project will bring to Halton and the Liverpool city-region. She also met the team who will be delivering the project at a briefing session at the Catalyst Museum in Widnes.
The Mersey Gateway is a £390 million project to build a new crossing over the River Mersey. It will ease the significant congestion currently experienced by users of the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge and provide a major strategic new transport route linking Merseyside to the rest of the country.
The new crossing will bring a wide range of benefits to Halton and the wider Liverpool-city region including:
- hundreds of new jobs and millions of pounds worth of new investment
- reduced journey times and improved journey reliability for local people, commuters and businesses
- the continued transformation of the towns of Widnes and Runcorn as part of a widespread regeneration programme.
The government approved funding for Mersey Gateway in March 2006. The Mersey Gateway team is now working up detailed proposals to ensure that the project brings the maximum possible benefits to Halton and the Liverpool city-region and environmental impact is minimised.
The public are expected to be consulted on the draft scheme proposals later in the year. 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.
Commenting on the visit, Transport Minister Gillian Merron said: “I am delighted to be in Halton to look at the project in detail and hear at first hand about the potential it has to bring inward investment benefits to Halton and the wider Liverpool-city region.”
Councillor Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Board, said: “We are pleased that Gillian Merron is taking such an active interest in the Mersey Gateway project so soon into her role with the Department for Transport. This shows how important this project is not just to Halton, but the wider Liverpool city-region.