Council evidence for Mersey Gateway submitted to public inquiry
The Mersey Gateway team has today (Monday 20 April) submitted its evidence to the public inquiry.
The evidence sets out the case for the project, the centrepiece of which is a new bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
The project also includes changes to the road network in Runcorn and Widnes, major changes to turn the Silver Jubilee Bridge back into a local crossing and significant environmental schemes to benefit the area. Detailed studies have predicted that the project will bring significant economic, social and transport benefits to Halton, and the region.
Both the proposed new bridge and the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled as part of the proposals.
Cllr Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board, said: “The Mersey Gateway Project is a unique opportunity for Halton and the north west region. It can be the catalyst to create jobs, encourage regeneration and investment and resolve some significant congestion issues on the Silver Jubilee Bridge.
He added: “We’re delighted that the public inquiry is about to start and are looking forward to presenting, what we believe is an overwhelming case for the project to the Inspector and hearing the views of others.
”The council has submitted its evidence a week earlier than everyone else to give other parties a chance to read through the official evidence and consider its contents before submitting their final evidence.”
The public inquiry starts on 19 May 2009 and is being held at the Stobart Stadium, Halton. Other parties with an interest in the project have until 28 April to submit their evidence, which will then be considered by an independent planning inspector who will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether the project should be given the go ahead.
If the project is given the green light, construction work is expected to start in 2011 with the new bridge opening in 2014. The Silver Jubilee Bridge would then be closed for a period whilst it is improved and updated.