Reduced speed limits set to ensure safety whilst Mersey Gateway construction takes place
Reduced speed limits will be gradually introduced on parts of the road network throughout Runcorn and Widnes over the coming months.
The reduced speed limits will help ensure the safety of local residents, construction workers and road users whilst construction work for the Mersey Gateway Project takes place.
They will be introduced in phases where they are needed across the local road network. Once introduced, they will typically remain in force until all construction work is completed and the new bridge is open in autumn 2017.
Current 60mph and 50mph zones will be reduced to 40mph in affected areas, while the affected 40mph zones will be reduced to 30mph.
Not all roads in Halton will be affected – the reduced speed limits will only be introduced where essential construction work is taking place.
The first reduced speed limits will be introduced later this September near the M56, Junction 12, on the section of the Weston Point Expressway that connects the motorway to the rest of the local road network in Runcorn.
The reduced speed limits will also be introduced on sections of the Bridgewater, Daresbury and Central Expressways from October.
Merseylink will be working with Cheshire Police to use mobile speed cameras at key locations along the road network to enforce the new speed limits.
Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “This is all about safety and there will be a lot of work taking place right across Runcorn and Widnes over the next three years.
“There will be some disruption, and that is inevitable, but I would just ask everyone to remember that each worker will be someone’s husband, wife, mum, dad, son or daughter, sister or brother and to drive safely.”
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager at Merseylink, said: “The safety of residents, workers and road users is our number one priority, and the reduced speed limits will help save lives and keep people safe.
“The vast majority of drivers will be sensible and drive within these new limits, but we know from experience that not everyone will put safety first, so we will be working with Cheshire Police to enforce these speed limits by introducing mobile speed cameras at key danger points on the road network.”
The Mersey Gateway Project is a major scheme to build a new six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes. It also includes upgrading over 9km of road network around the Ditton roundabout in Widnes, the Bridgewater Interchange in Runcorn and down to junction 12 of the M56 roundabout.
The economic, transport and social benefits the project will bring 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.
When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to all residents.
*Residents of Halton will still need to register to use the bridges and there will be a small charge for this.