The Mersey Gateway Project

Mersey Gateway celebrates four-year anniversary as journey numbers continue to rise

October 29, 2021Ged HerbyNews, Uncategorized

Traffic levels across the river in Halton are almost back to pre-pandemic levels as 14 October marks the fourth anniversary of the Mersey Gateway Bridge opening.

Tolling provider merseyflow is expecting to see two million vehicles making crossings each month across the Mersey Gateway and Silver Jubilee bridges this autumn.

In total, Halton residents, businesses and commuters have made 86.3 million journeys over the River Mersey in Halton since the Mersey Gateway Bridge opened at midnight on 14 October 2017.

The newly-released figures from merseyflow include trips made across both the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge, which re-opened in February this year.

The most recent quarterly figures, which are presented in the latest Mersey Gateway Bridge and Silver Jubilee Bridge dashboard and cover July-September 2021, show:

  • Traffic levels in summer were back to 95% of pre-pandemic volumes – this was the busiest quarter since 2019 and the autumn is expected to see two million vehicles a month using the bridges
  • An average of just 9,000 vehicles a day use the Silver Jubilee Bridge – far less than the 80,000 vehicles a day it used to carry
  • Over 97% of journeys were paid for on time – the vast majority of people are paying for their journeys by midnight the day after they cross
  • Over 90% of payments are made through digital or automated channels – www.merseyflow.co.uk, the merseyflow quick pay app and auto top-up options are widely used by customers
  • PCNs remain below historical levels from 2018 / 2019 – though they have increased alongside the rise in journey numbers

Mike Bennett, Managing Director of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “As we approach this anniversary it’s worth casting your mind back to remember what crossing the river in Halton was like before the new bridge was developed.”

Mike added: “Before the Mersey Gateway opened, the Silver Jubilee Bridge used to carry all of this traffic – up to 80,000 vehicles a day – through Halton, and it was regularly closed or disrupted by incidents or breakdowns. The split of traffic between the two bridges to accommodate total demand matches what was hoped for and is providing tangible benefits to local residents either side of the Silver Jubilee Bridge whose lives were affected by the traffic conditions on the approaches to it. These approach routes, which have now been removed or simplified, also formed a real barrier to investment and development. Today, we have much more reliable and resilient crossings, with significant extra capacity, it gives people and businesses extra confidence that they can live, work, invest in and travel through Halton without the disruption, delays and uncertainty that we all had to endure when planning to cross the river.”

Neil Conway, Chief Executive of merseyflow, said: “It’s really encouraging that the majority of customers are choosing to pay for their journeys using digital or automated channels, like our auto top-up system or through the merseyflow website and app. We’ve invested significantly to develop and improve these payment options and it’s good to see that customers are finding them useful to make paying for their journeys as simple and easy as possible.”

The quarterly merseyflow dashboard provides a range of in-depth statistics and graphs which show information on the number of crossings made, average daily traffic, number of PCNs issued, methods of payment, payments made on time, total revenue and what percentage of this comes from PCNs.

Silver Jubilee Bridge now open – guidance for merseyflow customers

March 10, 2021MerseylinkNews

The Silver Jubilee Bridge between Runcorn and Widnes is now open to traffic and operating as a toll bridge – you have to pay a charge to cross it.

When you drive across the Silver Jubilee Bridge, you will need to pay a toll/charge to cross it, just as you do when crossing the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

Both bridges are using exactly the same charging, discount and registration system.

I’m already registered with merseyflow – do I need to do anything?

No. If you are already registered with merseyflow, you don’t need to do anything differently to start using and paying to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

If you qualify for and already have a discount plan and merseyflow sticker that you use for the Mersey Gateway Bridge, that same discount plan and merseyflow sticker will now work for the Silver Jubilee Bridge too.

This applies to people with all types of merseyflow accounts and profiles including:

  • Halton Resident plans
  • Blue Badge holder plans
  • Pre-pay plans with discounts of 5 or 10%
  • Monthly passes
  • App profiles

I’m not registered with merseyflow – what do I need to do?

Registering with merseyflow is the easiest and cheapest way to pay for your crossing. It is the only way to get a discount on the toll charge.

However, if you’re not registered with merseyflow, you can pay the charge for crossing the Silver Jubilee Bridge in exactly the same way that you currently pay for the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

The cost per crossing depends on your vehicle type, but starts at £2 for a standard sized car or a small van.

If you use either bridge and aren’t registered with merseyflow, and don’t pay by midnight the day after you cross, then you will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

There are currently four options for drivers who aren’t registered to pay for bridge crossings:

  • By downloading and using the merseyflow app (24-hours a day, seven days a week). https://www.merseyflow.co.uk/quick-pay-app
  • Online at www.merseyflow.co.uk (24-hours a day, seven days a week).
  • By phone on 01928 878 878 – between 9am and 5.30pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday and Bank Holidays. Outside of these opening hours payment can be taken 24/7 using the automated service for journeys you have already made, which you can reach by phoning 01928 878 878.
  • At one of 10,000 Payzone outlets across the UK.

There are no payment booths on either bridge. This is to enable traffic to move freely across the river.

You can read more about the essential repair work that has taken place on the Silver Jubilee Bridge over the last three years at Halton Borough Council’s website.

Silver Jubilee Bridge to Re-Open soon

February 25, 2021MerseylinkNews, Uncategorized

The Silver Jubilee Bridge is scheduled to re-open towards the end of February 2021.

When it re-opens, you will need to pay a toll/charge to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge, just as you do when crossing the Mersey Gateway Bridge, and it will use exactly the same charging, discount and registration system.

I’m already registered with merseyflow – do I need to do anything?

No. If you are already registered with merseyflow, you don’t need to do anything differently to start using and paying to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

If you qualify for and already have a discount plan and merseyflow sticker that you use for the Mersey Gateway Bridge, that same discount plan and merseyflow sticker will work for the Silver Jubilee Bridge too.

This applies to people with all types of merseyflow accounts and profiles including:

  • Halton Resident plans
  • Blue Badge holder plans
  • Pre-pay plans with discounts of 5 or 10%
  • Monthly passes
  • App profiles

I’m not registered with merseyflow – what do I need to do?

Registering with merseyflow is the easiest and cheapest way to pay for your crossing. It is the only way to get a discount on the toll charge.

However, if you’re not registered with merseyflow, you can pay the charge for crossing the Silver Jubilee Bridge in exactly the same way that you currently pay for the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

The cost per crossing depends on your vehicle type but starts at £2 for a standard sized car or a small van.

You will need to pay merseyflow by midnight the day after you cross, or you will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

There are currently four options for drivers who aren’t registered to pay for bridge crossings:

  • By downloading and using the merseyflow app (24-hours a day, seven days a week). https://www.merseyflow.co.uk/quick-pay-app
  • Online at www.merseyflow.co.uk (24-hours a day, seven days a week).
  • By phone on 01928 878 878 – between 9am and 5.30pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday and Bank Holidays. Outside of these opening hours payment can be taken 24/7 using the automated service for journeys you have already made, which you can reach by phoning 01928 878 878.
  • At one of 10,000 Payzone outlets across the UK.

There will be no toll booths on the Silver Jubilee Bridge, so you won’t be able to pay by cash or card at a toll booth as you cross it.

You will need to pay merseyflow by midnight the day after you cross, or you will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

What happens if I don’t pay on time?

If you use either bridge and aren’t registered with merseyflow, and don’t pay on time, then you will receive a PCN.

Find out more

Halton Borough Council is overseeing the final work to be done on the Silver Jubilee Bridge before it opens.

You can read more about the essential repair work that has taken place on the Silver Jubilee Bridge over the last three years at Halton Borough Council’s website.

£1,500 Mersey Gateway boost for Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal as walk-in centre set to re-open

December 1, 2020MerseylinkNews

Construction consortium Merseylink and tolling operator merseyflow
have given the Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal a massive boost by
donating £1,500 worth of brand-new toys to the appeal.

Merseyflow is also encouraging staff and customers to use its
walk-in centre in Manor Park in Runcorn as a drop-off point for toys from 2
December.The tolling operator’s staff are already adding to that by donating
toys and Christmas presents to support the good cause.

When merseyflow’s Manor Park walk-in-centre
in Runcorn re-opens on 2 December, customers will be able to use it as a
drop-off point for toys. All customers visiting the centre need to wear face
coverings and follow social distancing guidelines when they visit.The toys need
to be new and unopened and would need to be dropped off by 13 December at the
latest. Ideally the team behind the appeal is looking to collect a range of
toys that could appeal to children aged between 0 and 18.The
appeal, which is also supported by Trinity Church in Widnes, benefits hundreds
of disadvantaged children from some of Halton’s most deprived areas every year.

Helen Williams, Marketing Manager at
merseyflow, said: “I’m sure we will have an incredible response
from our very generous customers and staff to support this appeal, and we
wanted to kick start it ourselves as a company because lockdown has affected
everything, including charity fund-raising, this year. I’d ask anyone coming to
drop off toys at our walk-in centre from 2 December to make sure they wear a
face covering and follow the social distancing guidelines.”

Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of the Merseylink Consortium, which
has donated £1,000 to the appeal, said: “We’re really pleased to be working
with the Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal because all the benefits go
to local kids and we know that 2020 has been such a challenging year for so
many people in lots of different ways.”

Claire Pentin, Principal Manager of the Runcorn Children’s Centres,
said: “We’re really pleased to get the support of the merseylink and merseyflow
teams in this year’s appeal and the £1,500 donation is incredible. I’d like to
thank everyone who contributes in advance. Every penny raised and gift donated
will be used to support local children here in Halton this Christmas.”

The
merseyflow walk-in-centre is open again from 2 December with opening hours of Monday
to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and on Sunday from 10am-4pm.

SILVER JUBILEE BRIDGE UPDATE

November 15, 2020MerseylinkNews, Uncategorized

Halton Borough Council can confirm that the Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB), a Grade II Listed Structure and the seventh largest steel arch bridge in the world,  is due to reopen to traffic in February 2021 as the major refurbishment programme nears completion.

The majority of the work is now finished, but there is one remaining 12 week project to complete before the bridge can fully reopen to vehicles. Since December 2019 pedestrians and cyclists have been able to use the SJB as they cannot use the Mersey Gateway. This will continue to be the case.

The opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge in October 2017 provided the first ever opportunity to completely close the Silver Jubilee Bridge for maintenance during its 59 year life, because for the majority of that time it has been the only crossing of the Mersey for miles around.

Listed below is the work already carried out on the SJB during its closure.

  • Refurbishment of the entire steel arch, including strengthening numerous bracing members that had extensive corrosion.
  • The replacement of a cable hanger that had shown evidence of potential early stage failure.The first time this has ever been undertaken.
  • The repainting of the entire arch, removing the old paint system, undertaking steel repairs and applying a new multi-coat system on to the bare steel.
  • The entire concrete road deck has been repaired, re-waterproofed and resurfaced.
  • Re-configuration of the deck into a single vehicle lane in either direction, together with dedicated cycle lane.This will allow the existing SJB footbridge to be solely for pedestrian use.
  • Both bridge approach structures (Widnes and Runcorn) have been refurbished and re-configured with single lane traffic and new, widened cycleway/footway verges.
  • Runcorn Approach Viaduct deck has been repaired, re-waterproofing and resurfaced and installed with new carriageway joints.
  • Widnes Approach Viaduct has been resurfaced with new carriageway joints.
  • The existing Runcorn Approach Viaduct West (connecting into the Trumpet Loop) has been demolished.

The Council has sought to open the SJB as soon as is possible, but any work undertaken on the bridge is complex due to its age, the uniqueness of the structure and the fact it is Grade II Listed. The final piece of work to do before the SJB can open to vehicles is to replace the safety system on the bridge’s edge, known as a parapet.

After demolition of Runcorn Approach Viaduct West (leading to Trumpet Loop), it was discovered that the remaining 75m section of existing parapet fixings, normally hidden from view, were corroded beyond repair. The new system must be fully certified and comply with current design standards.  Locations where the new system will be installed need to be cut out of the structure and widened to allow the new fixings to have significant strength and adhere to current standards.

As a critical health and safety matter, the SJB cannot be opened up to vehicles until it is completed. The work will take in the region of 12 weeks. This means that the SJB will not re-open to vehicles until February next year.

The Council would like to apologise for this delay, but given the health and safety issues, there is no alternative but to keep the closure to vehicles in place. To reiterate, the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists throughout this period.

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project