The Mersey Gateway – working together
The Mersey Gateway project was in the spotlight last night (Monday 14 July) as Warrington Borough Council’s council’s Executive Board put forward their views about the proposals.
The Executive Board was consulted by Halton Borough Council on the scheme, which will provide a second bridge crossing across the River Mersey at Halton, near to the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge crossing.
The transport model accompanying the consultation which illustrates how traffic will use the proposed new bridge and the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge, shows that there will be traffic diverted into Warrington. This is due to the affect of the proposed tolls on the bridges.
Members of Executive Board expressed concern about the affect this may have on Warrington’s already congested river crossings, which cause delay to traffic both within and outside the morning and evening rush hours.
The board agreed to support the Mersey Gateway scheme on condition that Halton and Warrington work positively together in order to mitigate the affects of the scheme on traffic levels in Warrington and will continue to support the scheme as long as adequate mitigation is achieved.
The Executive Board has asked for a progress report in two months time.
The Mersey Gateway Project team is working with a highly sophisticated traffic model which shows that, with toll levels expected to be set at similar level to the Mersey Tunnel tolls, there will be an increase in traffic using the Warrington bridges of around 4% in 2015. The majority of this traffic diversion is expected to be outside of peak hours.
If it gets the go-ahead, the new bridge, which is expected to be open in 2014, will include:
- a 1,000 metre long cable stay bridge consisting of four spans supported from three towers in the estuary;
- a deck carrying six lanes of traffic (three in each direction) with aspeed limit of 60mph; and
- a lower deck designed with space for a possible future tram orlight rail system;
Both the Silver Jubilee Bridge and the Mersey Gateway Bridge will be tolled as part of the project.
In addition to a new bridge that will become an icon for the region, the impact of the proposals includes:
- more reliable and safer traffic journeys over the River Mersey;
- a flexible tolling strategy designed to secure the best deal for residents, commuters and businesses;
- demolition and removal of unnecessary road infrastructure and clearance and regeneration of large areas of land in Widnes and Runcorn to create new opportunities for leisure, housing and office premises;
- a revitalised Silver Jubilee Bridge with traffic levels reduced by 83%featuring a new ?green corridor? with improved public transport, cycling and walking facilities
- an overall reduction in CO2 traffic emissions caused by re-routing traffic and reducing congestion;
- extra capacity for the region?s fragile road network at a crucial bottleneck where it crosses the River Mersey;
- designated areas identified where compulsory purchase powers can be used to buy land required for the project to proceed.