Mersey Gateway team publish sustainable transport plans
The team behind the Mersey Gateway project has published new plans showing how the project would overhaul the public transport system in Halton.
Following the announcement that a public inquiry is to take place in May, the Mersey Gateway team has been busy finalising the significant amounts of documentation that will form the basis of the case for the project going ahead.
Included in this is a Mersey Gateway Sustainable Transport Strategy that puts forward proposals for completely revitalising Halton’s public transport system. The plans will be considered by Halton councillors this month.
The strategy proposes a comprehensive package of improvements to Halton’s walking, cycling and public transport routes that will be addressed in two phases. Phase 1, starting in 2014, to coincide with the planned opening of the new bridge, will include:
- The redevelopment of the Silver Jubilee Bridge to provide improved walking, cycling and public transport links between Runcorn and Widnes.
- A new, high quality, bus based transit network linking new and existing residential communities with the key commercial centres, employment areas and leisure opportunities. This new transit network will include a complete revitalisation of the original Runcorn Busway system.
- Improvements to cycling and walking links, with a mixture of new routes and facilities aiming to encourage more people to consider cycling and walking, especially for short journeys around the urban area.
- Further improvements to Halton’s existing accessible transport services, including the introduction of a new demand responsive public transport scheme serving key employment areas in eastern Runcorn and further support for community based transport schemes.
- The potential introduction of a new discounted travel scheme for young people aged 16 -19 years.
Phase 2 of the strategy incorporates longer-term projects that will draw on the variety of public and private sector funding that may be available after 2024/25.
Talking about the strategy, Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board said:
“The Mersey Gateway Sustainable Transport Strategy demonstrates the kind of added benefits that the new bridge can bring to residents of Halton and the wider region.
“Not only will the new bridge relieve congestion, cut journey times and improve the reliability of the road network in Halton and the region. It will also allow us to deliver a range of wider measures that will improve the lives of the people who live and work in Halton.”
David Parr, Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council, said:
“These proposals will bring benefits to residents across Halton and demonstrate our commitment to putting Halton at the forefront of sustainable transport in the north west and beyond.
“Our recently published research shows that the Mersey Gateway will benefit the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the borough. Less congestion will mean less queuing traffic and a net reduction in CO2 emissions of 291,000 tonnes over a sixty year assessment period.”