Mersey Gateway team swap shovels for fishing nets to carry out fish rescue
The team working on the Mersey Gateway Project swapped shovels and JCBs for dinghies and fishing nets to rehome 680 fish from one part of the St Helen’s Canal to another.
The work, carried out by aquatic survey specialist APEM, marked a change in pace for the construction project that is building a landmark £600 million bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
Victoria Pollard, Environmental Manager at Merseylink said the transfer was carried out to move the carp, perch, roach, mullet and eels to another part of the canal.
“This enabled two clay dams to be installed in the canal to provide a dry area which could be filled with engineered stone to continue construction of the haul road across the canal,” Victoria said.
“The fish rescue involved using a specially designed tool that generates a mild current, to lure fish towards the nets.
“The fish were captured and transferred into a bucket of canal water on the dinghy before being rehomed back in another section of the canal.
“The water in the 60-metre stretch was pumped back into the canal, using a specially-designed filter system to ensure fish were not sucked into the pump.”
Councillor Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council said: “This is an excellent example of how the project team is working to protect the wildlife on and around the construction site of the new Mersey Gateway bridge.
“The preservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats around the construction site is of paramount importance to the residents of Halton, and has been taken into consideration for all elements of the project.”
Work on the Mersey Gateway project officially started on May 7 with a groundbreaking ceremony at Wigg Island.
The project is expected to take three-and-a-half years to complete and when finished will improve journey time and reliability between Runcorn and Widnes.
Other economic, transport and social benefits to the region, include:
- 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.