Mersey Gateway Bridge crossings reach over 23 million as the iconic structure celebrates its first anniversary
The iconic Mersey Gateway Bridge has welcomed over 23 million journeys in its first year of operation, averaging 64,000 crossings per day and 72,000 each weekday.
At midnight on the 14 October 2017 the new bridge opened to traffic following a spectacular night of celebration with a light and fireworks display enjoyed by tens of thousands of people across Halton.
The three and a half year construction project was completed on time and to budget and is allowing quicker, easier and more reliable travel across the River Mersey in Halton and the North West region – a drastically improved outlook than that which was provided by the ageing and congested Silver Jubilee Bridge.
Current figures show that average journey times across the route have reduced by up to 20 minutes.
May, June, July and August this year saw more than two million crossings each month, with July’s total of 2,070,000 the highest number of total journeys in a single month since the bridge opened – a level of demand that is over and above the original traffic projections.
One satisfied user of the bridge said, “I would like to thank everyone for the smooth and efficient running of the whole project from the stunning bridge itself to the ease which I can operate my account online…my journey has been reduced from 90+ minutes to 38 minutes and that is worth the £1.80 to me.”
To date over 291,000 people have registered for discounted crossings with toll provider Merseyflow with approx. 63,000 payment transactions being completed per week.
Mike Bennett, Managing Director of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board said, “It’s been a fantastic first year for the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the transportation benefits it’s bringing have even exceeded our high expectations. Not only has the project displayed world class feats of engineering and dedicated team work – which has this year been recognised across multiple award wins – it’s much more than that.”
“The Mersey Gateway is a catalyst for positive change and we are already seeing this right across Halton though job creation, community outreach and inward investment.”
Over the course of construction nearly 1300 people were working on the project at its peak with over 5 million hours worked. Opportunities were created for 32 apprenticeships and a total of 73 weeks’ worth of work experience was offered.
17 pre-employment programmes were also delivered in partnership with Halton Enterprise Partnership (HEP), supporting over 100 residents in learning new skills.
Over 650 people from the Halton area were successful in securing employment across the project.
In its first year, 251 people remain working on the project and job creation continues.
6 full time roles and one apprenticeship has been created by bridge operation and maintenance provider Merseylink and Merseyflow has recruited 177 people with 90% of its employees living in Halton and are continually working within the local community and with HEP to help secure work for even more local people.
Inward investment is also on the rise as a result of the numerous benefits of the Mersey Gateway.
David Parr Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council said, “Business in Halton is thriving. Transport and storage businesses have increased three-fold since 2010; professional, scientific and technical have increased more than 50%; education businesses have increased by 70% and health by nearly 40%. For the first time, registered businesses in Halton number more than 4,000.
“Since the opening of the Mersey Gateway we have seen the relocation of LPW to state of the art premises, the building of a 100,000 square foot expansion of a local business in Manor Park and site preparation at Gorsey Point, Widnes, providing 40 acres of premium development land in anticipation of major investments.”
Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council said, “Halton is a great place and we stood behind its potential right from the beginning to become a thriving hub of economic growth in the North West.”
“Getting the Mersey Gateway Project off the ground was a journey of true challenge and triumph spanning multiple decades – but we never gave up.”
“Throughout construction, the bridge brought prosperity to many through job creation and community outreach and one year on, the new crossing is surpassing our expectations.”
“This is just the beginning. With transport connections which are second to none providing quicker, easier and more reliable journeys, Halton can continue to flourish and I’m excited to see what comes next.”