Year one figures for Mersey Gateway economic benefits show £44 million regional investment boost as workforce reaches 700 people
Year one figures show a direct contribution from the Mersey Gateway Project to the north west regional economy since work began of some £44million.
The figures account for work placed by the main Merseylink Consortium with 138 different suppliers and sub-contractors based within a 30-mile radius of the site in Halton during the first year of work on the project, which began in May 2014.
In addition to this, over 700 people are now working on site across Runcorn and Widnes to construct the Mersey Gateway Project, adding further to the local economy.
The 700 workers are made up of:
- 34 people employed by the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board
- 250 people employed directly by the three construction partners (Kier, Samsung, FCC) in the Merseylink Civil Construction Joint Venture (MCCJV), including 105 people recruited directly for the project
- around 440 people employed by suppliers or sub-contractors working on different elements of work across the site.
At the peak of activity in autumn this year it is expected there will be up to 1,000 people working on the project across Halton.
Thomas Duncalf, a general operative from Runcorn, is one of the new recruits working on the project. He said: “I’m excited to be working on the Mersey Gateway Project. It’s a great opportunity. My grandad worked on the Silver Jubilee Bridge so this is an important part of my family history. I feel honoured to be part of the team building the new bridge.”
One of the major local sub-contractors for Merseylink on the project is Widnes based demolition specialists S Evans & Sons Ltd. The company has undertaken the majority of the demolition work in both Runcorn and Widnes to clear land needed for the new bridge and the approach roads.
Sam Evans, Director of S Evans & Sons Ltd, said: “We work across the UK but it is very special to be working on the Mersey Gateway Project right here in Halton. We are a Widnes based company and are very happy to play a part in the regeneration of the area. The scale of this project is enormous, and we’ve been working across a number of different sites on both sides of the river, demolishing buildings and clearing the areas to make way for the construction team.”
He added: “There is a strong environmental focus to this project – the vast majority of materials are re-used or recycled in some way, which is very important.
“We have been instrumental in the processing and recycling of approximately 20,000 tons of concrete generated from the project. This final product has been utilised within the Merseylink project, further reducing the carbon footprint and the impact on the surrounding infrastructures due to the onsite re-use of the materials.”
Frodsham-based Mavis Plant Hire is another north west firm that is heavily involved in the project. The company is providing around 50 specialist excavation and dust suppression wagons and tractors to Merseylink, and has around 60 staff working on the site on a regular basis.
Since securing the contract with Merseylink last year, Mavis Plant Hire has invested around £2million in developing the business and created an extra 25 permanent jobs as a direct result of the Mersey Gateway Project.
Mark Avis, Managing Director of Mavis Plant Hire, said: “This is an outstanding and hugely exciting project for us to be involved with. The environmental challenges, the scale of the work and the incredible location make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on, and it has also allowed us to create new jobs and grow the business, which is fantastic.”
Around 90% of the overall workforce on site is made up of UK residents, with the remainder being highly-qualified staff who were already employed by the MCCJV parent companies and have experience of delivering similarly complex and challenging projects elsewhere in the world.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of Merseylink, said: “It’s very satisfying to look at these figures and know that Mersey Gateway is providing real jobs and investment for the regional economy. These numbers will increase as we move forward.”
Merseylink is committed to sourcing a minimum of 10% of new employees from job centres and current employment and career development initiatives. So far we are exceeding this as 11% of the new recruits have been recruited through the Halton Employment Partnership alone.”
The Merseylink team has also recruited some 40 active volunteers who have delivered around 2,500 hours to support initiatives like the Visitor Centre at the Catalyst Museum, Merseylink’s schools engagement programme and other community outreach activity in Halton.
Cllr. Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “It has been wonderful during the past year to watch the Mersey Gateway project really pick up pace, and now we can actually see the bridge begin to take shape in the river.
“An awful lot of work has been carried out to prepare the site for construction and major work is ongoing to improve the road network around Halton to coincide with the bridge opening.
“During the coming months we will be able to see more and more activity on the river as we progress the works on the main pylons.
“This is a hugely important development for Halton and the north west as a whole. It has already brought new jobs and investment to the area but, once complete, it will regenerate both Runcorn and Widnes, relieve congestion and provide enormous economic, social and environmental benefits, too.”