A second road crossing over the Mersey has been a long held aspiration of Halton Borough Council and its neighbouring local authorities. In 2006 the Mersey Gateway Project, a major scheme to build a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes, was agreed. The new bridge will relieve the congested and ageing Silver Jubilee Bridge.
1994 – Mersey Gateway Group formed
2006 – Project received initial approval from the Department of Transport
2010 – General Election in May
2010 – Comprehensive spending review in October
2011 – Funding Approval and further planning consultation
2011 – Prequalification commenced
2012 – Competitive dialogue process commenced
2013 – Merseylink consortium appointed as the preferred bidder for the Project in June
2014 – The project reached financial close and work on the Mersey Gateway commenced.
The consortium is responsible for the design, build, finance and operation of the bridge over the next 30 years.
Along with this, the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board Ltd was set up by Halton Borough Council to deliver the project on their behalf. The Board will operate as a commercial (though not for profit) organisation on an arm’s length from the council working closely with Merseylink to ensure project delivery.
The wider project includes:
- plans to develop and integrate public transport, cycle and pedestrian links across Halton
- plans to kick start a major 20-year regeneration programme for Halton
- improving regional transport links to encourage new and inward investment
- road user charges on the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge between the two towns
The new bridge will:
- be over 70% funded by the private sector
- mean an estimated 4,640 new jobs through direct employment, regeneration activity and inward investment
- generate an estimated £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030
- cross the river around 1.5km to the east of the Silver Jubilee Bridge
- be a tolled crossing with a speed limit of 60mph
- have three lanes across the Mersey in each direction
- form the centrepiece of a new and improved high standard link road (9.5km long) connecting the national motorway network in north Cheshire with Merseyside.