The Mersey Gateway Project

Airport backs Mersey Gateway proposals as new figures show airport related bridge traffic set to double in future

July 30, 2007adminNews

Bosses at Liverpool John Lennon Airport are backing the latest proposals for the Mersey Gateway project as new statistics reveal that 3.6million people could be crossing the Mersey in Halton travelling to or from the airport in the future.

The latest figures come as JLA enters the summer holiday season, traditionally its busiest time of the year, where as many as 120,000 passengers will use it every week, many of them arriving and leaving via the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

The Airport’s draft Master Plan proposals show that around 8.3 million passengers are forecast to be using JLA by 2015, a year after the Mersey Gateway project is scheduled to open, with the number of airport passengers travelling over the river in Halton likely to increase to nearly 2.5 million. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 3.6million.

The extra airport traffic, combined with other expected increases in traffic volumes over the Silver Jubilee Bridge, will put the crossing under ever greater pressure, and increase the existing problems of journey time and reliability.

Year

Total number of JLA passengers (millions)

Number of JLA passengers crossing Mersey in Halton (millions)

2006

4.97

1.4

2007

5.4

1.6

2015

8.3

2.4

2030

12.3

3.6

The research is based on new passenger survey data collected during the first quarter of 2007. Statistics show that almost two thirds of Airport passenger journeys originate form outside of Merseyside of which approximately 29% of passengers using John Lennon Airport are likely to arrive at the airport via the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge. Overall, the number of passengers flying from JLA is forecast to increase as the airport expands its facilities and routes to meet extra demand, so the number of people crossing the river in Halton is likely to increase accordingly.

Robin Tudor, JLA’s General Manager for Corporate and Community Affairs, said: “Available and reliable access to the airport is naturally important for us and our passengers. We know from talking to passengers that they can be held up by delays on the Silver Jubilee Bridge, which is the last thing you need when trying to get away on business or for a hard earned holiday or coming home after a long trip.  I firmly believe that the Mersey Gateway project will benefit not just us and our passengers, but also other businesses in the area as it will provide the transport reliability that we desperately need.”

He added: “We will be submitting a formal response to the current Mersey Gateway consultation programme shortly, and we have also arranged for details about the project to be displayed by the John Lennon statue here at the Airport to raise awareness and support for this important scheme and so our passengers can find out more themselves.”

Councillor Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board, said: “I welcome the support from the airport on this important issue. We have seen on a number of occasions just in the last two weeks how an accident, breakdown or incident on the Silver Jubilee Bridge can cause major delays right across the region. As the volume of traffic crossing the bridge continues to grow, this problem is going to get worse, so doing nothing really is not an option.”

He added: “I understand and share the concerns of local people over the issue of tolling, but the government has been quite clear that it will not fund the project without it. That is why a key element of our consultation is asking people what the priority for discounts should be and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation this summer.”

The Mersey Gateway team is specifically consulting on two important aspects of the programme between now and 21 September. These are:

  • How should the Silver Jubilee Bridge best be redeveloped as a bridge for local people?
  • Where should the priority for any discounts on tolling be focused?

The government agreed terms on which the Mersey Gateway scheme could be funded in March 2006. Subject to the project meeting certain conditions, the government is funding £86 million of the £390 million with the remainder being raised through a Private Finance Initiative.

The Mersey Gateway will run from the Central Expressway in Runcorn to the Eastern Bypass in Widnes and ultimately connect with Speke Road heading towards Liverpool. The new bridge will have three lanes in each direction across the river, and the route has been carefully chosen so that there are no inhabited residential properties directly affected by the project.

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. Construction work on the project is due to start in 2011, and it is scheduled to open to the public in 2014.

 

 

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project