The Mersey Gateway Project

Contaminated land clean up

August 30, 2013adminNews

Clean up work at the Catalyst Trade Park has been completed. The 13-month project to clean up the contaminated land at the site is part of the advance works programme of the Mersey Gateway Project.

One of the key aims of the project’s advance works programme is to ‘pave the way’ for the main construction, and the clean up of contamination is helping to achieve this.

Halton Borough Council has identified Catalyst Trade Park as one of several key clean up sites along the project route through Widnes.  Both Widnes and Runcorn have areas that have relatively high levels of contamination, which is due to the area’s industrial and chemical heritage.

The clean up work (also called remediation) has been led by the project’s technical consultants Ramboll. Its Senior Contaminated Land Engineer Dr. Peter Fitch said: “We have been working with specialist experts from Celtic Technologies Ltd to do the work, we have been highly involved with them and the regulatory authorities throughout the clean up.  Almost 17 tonnes of chlorinated solvent has been removed from the ground on the site. Doing this now means better value for money in the long-term and reduces the risk of delay for the main construction works.”

Celtic achieved this by lowering the water table and letting air into the soil. A large vacuum was then applied to the ground to remove the solvent and air at the same time as the water was pumped out so that everything could be dealt with together. The water was treated and re-injected back into the ground, while the vapour was cleaned before being released into the atmosphere.

Rob Polhill, Leader at Halton Borough Council said: “This remediation process is really important for the environment, as cleaning up land is a major part of the process prior to the main construction works starting at the end of the year.”

Chris Rhead, Project Director with the Merseylink consortium said: “The Council’s decision to press ahead with advance works like this that deal with contaminated land means we can focus on the main construction work with confidence in the timetable.”

The centrepiece of the Mersey Gateway Project is a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey. The existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project, which will bring major estimated economic, transport and social benefits to the region, including:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction,
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs*
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030,
  • quicker journey times by up to 10 minutes in peak periods, and
  • an improvement in journey time reliability

Halton Borough Council, which is promoting the project, last month announced the appointment of the Merseylink consortium as the preferred bidder on the project as part of a procurement process which has saved tens of millions of pounds on the £2billion lifetime cost of the scheme.