Mersey Gateway on Breakfast Menu
The latest updates on the Mersey Gateway project were presented by members of the project team to regional businesses and politicians at a special breakfast briefing this morning (Monday 15th October)
Councillor Tony McDermott, leader of Halton Borough Council and David Parr, Chief Executive, were joined by Project Director Steve Nicholson and other members of the project team to give updates on the latest developments and milestones on the Mersey Gateway project.
Councillor Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board said: “Events of this nature are important for us to be able to maintain a dialogue with the many local and regional stakeholders in the business community and we value the open and honest feedback we get from them every time we hold an event of this kind.”
Among the items on the agenda were updates on the summer 2007 consultation programme which ran from the 18th June to the 21st September. Over 3000 responses were received with more than 1500 people visiting the dedicated exhibitions across Halton.
Analysis of the results is now underway, but some key issues are already emerging, including where the focus for tolling discounts should be and how the tolls will be collected as well concerns over additional traffic on Runcorn’s Central Expressway.
Councillor McDermott went on to say: “The consultation sought the views of those who live and/or work in Halton and we are absolutely delighted with the level of response we have had back.”
“We are already looking at some of the concerns raised in greater detail such as how to mitigate any additional noise on the Central Expressway and a study on tolling technology options has been commissioned.”
“We will be writing to every household and business in Halton with detailed results from the consultation during November.”
David Parr, Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council, said: “We are still well on course to deliver the Mersey Gateway project by our target date of 2014, but it important that we keep our focus during this important period in the run up to the planning application being submitted in spring next year.
“The Mersey Gateway is a project of regional significance and it is important that it remains a priority for the north west. Events like today are important to keep the project in the spotlight.”
The first results from the newly available traffic modelling system that has recently been finalised were also unveiled at the event. The model shows that the effect of tolls would cause only a 5% reduction in traffic using the new crossing.
Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project Director, said: “The traffic model will allow us to look in detail at the impact the Mersey Gateway will have on traffic flows and behaviour across the borough and the wider Liverpool city-region.”
“We will now be using the model to look at more detailed aspects of the scheme that will eventually be used to support the environmental studies we are carrying out and the planning application.”
Project engineers Gifford also gave an update on developments to the overall scheme design of the Mersey Gateway, including improvements to the North Abutment of the bridge and the Astmoor junction.
Ian Hunt, Director at Gifford said: “The developments we have outlined today are all about making refinements to the scheme which will not only create benefits to the Mersey Gateway, but also facilitate the wide goal of creating a catalyst for regeneration in Halton.
“We will continue to work to make improvements to the overall design right up until the last possible moment based on the feedback we get from our partners and stakeholders.”