Mersey Gateway exhibitions begin in Halton
A series of exhibitions across Halton to give local people a chance to learn more about and give their views on the Mersey Gateway project get underway this week.
The first of 13 exhibitions takes place at Halton Stadium on Wednesday 4th July between 12noon and 8pm. Others take place up to 21st July at venues across the borough including The Brindley, Halton Lea, Greenoaks and Halton Direct Links.
They are part of a major public consultation programme to gather views on the £390m Mersey Gateway project to build a landmark new bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
Technical experts on issues like the design, engineering and environmental aspects of the project will join members of the project team to gather people?s views and explain how the new bridge will be a catalyst for investment across the region.
People attending the exhibitions will get a chance to view the unique 3D digital model of the new bridge, which even allows them to see how the bridge will look from around the borough.
The Mersey Gateway team is specifically consulting on two important aspects of the programme between now and September 21st. These are:
- How should the Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB) best be redeveloped as a bridge for local people?
- Where should the priority for any discounts on tolling be focused?
Councillor Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council, and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board, said: “This is an important project, and I would encourage everyone with an interest in it to come along, find out more about the proposals and give their views. The exhibitions run over several evenings and during the day on three different weekends to give as many people as possible a chance to attend.”
Claire Hall, Project Manager of the Mersey Gateway, said: “We are really keen to hear the views of local people on remodelling the Silver Jubilee Bridge and the best way to introduce discounts on tolls. The whole purpose of this consultation is to make sure that our planning application, which will be submitted in 2008, is as well informed as possible and takes the views of local people into account.”
Information leaflets and questionnaires promoting the exhibitions and explaining details about the project have been issued to over 57,000 households and businesses across the borough. Local people who are unable to attend one of the exhibitions can find out more about the project by calling Halton Borough Council on 0151 907 8300 or visiting the project website.
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 chosen carefully 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.