The Mersey Gateway Project

MGCB Service Update

The week ending 17 May was the busiest for
traffic across the Mersey Gateway Bridge since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown
began back in March. An extra 45,000 vehicles crossed the bridge compared to
the previous week.

New data shows that the traffic level at the
height of the lockdown was less than a third of the typical pre-lockdown number
of vehicles flowing across the bridge between Runcorn and Widnes.

However, whilst the past week has been the
busiest since 16 March, overall traffic is still at less than half of
pre-lockdown levels.

Traffic has dropped across all vehicle
classes, though the new figures shared by bridge operator merseyflow do show
how traffic patterns have varied across different vehicle types over the past
two months.

  • The quietest week was week commencing 6th
    April when just 154,000 vehicles crossed the Mersey, compared to a typical
    pre-lockdown average of almost 500,000 journeys.
  • Class 4 vehicles – HGVs and other large
    vehicles – went from around 7% of daily traffic up to 13% of daily traffic at
    the height of the lockdown, before reducing back to their current figure of 10%.
  • Halton residents, Blue Badge holders and
    registered customers have all significantly reduced travel as a result of the
    lockdown.
  • Motorcyclists have taken advantage of the
    lockdown easing and better weather, with the past week showing the highest
    number of motorcyclists crossing the bridge in a single week for several months
  • The number of PCNs issued reduced
    significantly and payment on time rates remained high at almost 98% during
    April and May.
  • A growing percentage of people paying for
    their journeys using the merseyflow quick pay app, which has now been downloaded
    over 26,000 times since it was launched last November.

A number of new features for the app are now
being tested and will be ready for roll-out within the next few weeks.

Tolls/charges remain in force on the bridge,
despite a number of urgent requests from Halton Borough Council, which have
been supported by merseyflow, to the UK Government to temporarily waive
tolls/charges during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government has not agreed to this
request as it has maintained its stance that continuation of tolling/charging
on crossings is a matter that has to be considered in a national context.

Neil Conway, Chief Executive of merseyflow,
said: “These figures show just how much people across the north west have
reduced their travel during the lockdown. They will also act as a guide to how
much things are slowly getting ‘back to normal’ in terms of behaviour patterns
as the lockdown gradually eases. We’ve just finished the first week of things
being more relaxed, but it is clear that less people are staying at home as
there was an extra 45,000 journeys made last week.”

Mike Bennett, Managing Director of the Mersey
Gateway Crossings Board, said: “I think these figures show how responsible
people have been over the past two months in minimising non-essential journeys.
It also shows how the changing message from Government since 11th
May has certainly had an impact on traffic activity levels here in the north
west.”

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project