The Mersey Gateway Project

Halton Borough Council sets out case for Mersey Gateway in Spending Review submission

August 23, 2010LornaNews

Halton Borough Council has laid out its case for a new bridge over the River Mersey in a submission to the Government’s Spending Review.

The council’s Mersey Gateway submission sets out how the proposed new bridge across the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes will be funded and the benefits it will bring to the region.

The submission featured supporting quotes from two of the region’s biggest private sector backers, who are amongst many regional representatives from the public and private sectors to have voiced their support for the project.

Peter Nears, Chair of the Liverpool SuperPort Committee, said: “The development of the Liverpool SuperPort is transforming the City Region economy, creating over 25,000 jobs and generating £1billion per annum in GVA. For this to succeed, an effective transport system is paramount, especially access for freight and to major roads and rail networks. A new crossing of the River Mersey at Runcorn is critical to this.”

Steve O’Connor, Managing Director of Stobart Ports, said: “The Silver Jubilee Bridge is a critical infrastructure link, but it is out dated and under immense pressure on a daily basis. We badly need a new crossing, and I would urge every business that uses the Silver Jubilee Bridge to write to government and show how crucial this new bridge and the associated investment are to our region.”

The council and its partners believe the proposed new bridge is in a strong position to meet Government’s spending criteria, as it will:

  • be over 70% funded by the private sector
  • bring benefits 4 times greater than the cost
  • mean an estimated 4,640 new jobs through direct employment, regeneration activity and inward investment, and
  • generate a conservative estimate of £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “Our case for this project is well known in government. Mersey Gateway will be the catalyst for over 4,500 new jobs, kick-start significant regeneration and inward investment activity, ensure the future of Halton and be a crucial piece of the reliable transport infrastructure that the private sector needs for it to invest in this region.”

Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project Director, said: “The submission draws on information we have developed since funding support was secured from government back in 2006. Although much of what we say is well known and demonstrates the scheme’s exceptional value for money, the submission addresses the particular points the Government has set out in its criteria for the Spending Review. The support we’ve had from our private and public sector partners across the region over recent weeks has been fantastic.”

The aim of the Mersey Gateway Project is to build a new six lane toll bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes. The Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project. It was placed on hold on 10 June, along with all major transport schemes across the country, by the new coalition government. It is now being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the outcomes of which are due to be reported in parliament on 20 October.

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