£1,500 Mersey Gateway boost for Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal as walk-in centre set to re-open
Construction consortium Merseylink and tolling operator merseyflow
have given the Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal a massive boost by
donating £1,500 worth of brand-new toys to the appeal.
Merseyflow is also encouraging staff and customers to use its
walk-in centre in Manor Park in Runcorn as a drop-off point for toys from 2
December.The tolling operator’s staff are already adding to that by donating
toys and Christmas presents to support the good cause.
When merseyflow’s Manor Park walk-in-centre
in Runcorn re-opens on 2 December, customers will be able to use it as a
drop-off point for toys. All customers visiting the centre need to wear face
coverings and follow social distancing guidelines when they visit.The toys need
to be new and unopened and would need to be dropped off by 13 December at the
latest. Ideally the team behind the appeal is looking to collect a range of
toys that could appeal to children aged between 0 and 18.The
appeal, which is also supported by Trinity Church in Widnes, benefits hundreds
of disadvantaged children from some of Halton’s most deprived areas every year.
Helen Williams, Marketing Manager at
merseyflow, said: “I’m sure we will have an incredible response
from our very generous customers and staff to support this appeal, and we
wanted to kick start it ourselves as a company because lockdown has affected
everything, including charity fund-raising, this year. I’d ask anyone coming to
drop off toys at our walk-in centre from 2 December to make sure they wear a
face covering and follow the social distancing guidelines.”
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of the Merseylink Consortium, which
has donated £1,000 to the appeal, said: “We’re really pleased to be working
with the Halton Children’s Centres Christmas Appeal because all the benefits go
to local kids and we know that 2020 has been such a challenging year for so
many people in lots of different ways.”
Claire Pentin, Principal Manager of the Runcorn Children’s Centres,
said: “We’re really pleased to get the support of the merseylink and merseyflow
teams in this year’s appeal and the £1,500 donation is incredible. I’d like to
thank everyone who contributes in advance. Every penny raised and gift donated
will be used to support local children here in Halton this Christmas.”
merseyflow walk-in-centre is open again from 2 December with opening hours of Monday
to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and on Sunday from 10am-4pm.
Halton Borough Council can confirm that the Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB), a Grade II Listed Structure and the seventh largest steel arch bridge in the world, is due to reopen to traffic in February 2021 as the major refurbishment programme nears completion.
The majority of the work is now finished, but there is one remaining 12 week project to complete before the bridge can fully reopen to vehicles. Since December 2019 pedestrians and cyclists have been able to use the SJB as they cannot use the Mersey Gateway. This will continue to be the case.
The opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge in October 2017 provided the first ever opportunity to completely close the Silver Jubilee Bridge for maintenance during its 59 year life, because for the majority of that time it has been the only crossing of the Mersey for miles around.
Listed below is the work already carried out on the SJB during its closure.
- Refurbishment of the entire steel arch, including strengthening numerous bracing members that had extensive corrosion.
- The replacement of a cable hanger that had shown evidence of potential early stage failure.The first time this has ever been undertaken.
- The repainting of the entire arch, removing the old paint system, undertaking steel repairs and applying a new multi-coat system on to the bare steel.
- The entire concrete road deck has been repaired, re-waterproofed and resurfaced.
- Re-configuration of the deck into a single vehicle lane in either direction, together with dedicated cycle lane.This will allow the existing SJB footbridge to be solely for pedestrian use.
- Both bridge approach structures (Widnes and Runcorn) have been refurbished and re-configured with single lane traffic and new, widened cycleway/footway verges.
- Runcorn Approach Viaduct deck has been repaired, re-waterproofing and resurfaced and installed with new carriageway joints.
- Widnes Approach Viaduct has been resurfaced with new carriageway joints.
- The existing Runcorn Approach Viaduct West (connecting into the Trumpet Loop) has been demolished.
The Council has sought to open the SJB as soon as is possible, but any work undertaken on the bridge is complex due to its age, the uniqueness of the structure and the fact it is Grade II Listed. The final piece of work to do before the SJB can open to vehicles is to replace the safety system on the bridge’s edge, known as a parapet.
After demolition of Runcorn Approach Viaduct West (leading to Trumpet Loop), it was discovered that the remaining 75m section of existing parapet fixings, normally hidden from view, were corroded beyond repair. The new system must be fully certified and comply with current design standards. Locations where the new system will be installed need to be cut out of the structure and widened to allow the new fixings to have significant strength and adhere to current standards.
As a critical health and safety matter, the SJB cannot be opened up to vehicles until it is completed. The work will take in the region of 12 weeks. This means that the SJB will not re-open to vehicles until February next year.
The Council would like to apologise for this delay, but given the health and safety issues, there is no alternative but to keep the closure to vehicles in place. To reiterate, the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists throughout this period.
As part of a new Order to deal with the opening of the Silver Jubilee Bridge we are asking for feedback on a customer survey for 3 week period from 23rd Sept to 14th Oct. We are not asking for views on tolling but on the new configuration.
You can access the Survey here and thanks in advance for your time.
A baby girl has been born nearly three months premature as her mum crossed the River Mersey.
Baby Opal was born in an ambulance on the Mersey Gateway Bridge, as her parents were en-route to hospital.
They have been reunited with one of the paramedics who delivered her.
Watch the ITV Granada News report here
The latest Mersey Gateway figures show that people are starting to resume normal travel patterns following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The lockdown period saw journey numbers fall to the lowest levels recorded since the bridge opened.
Journey numbers have been steadily increasing every week as lockdown eases, with a daily average of 45,000 journeys recorded in the last week of June.
The figures also show that April was the least busy month recorded for the bridge since it first opened in October 2017.
The detailed figures, which are presented in the quarterly Mersey Gateway dashboard and cover April – June 2020, show:
- Journey numbers are increasing weekly as lockdown ends – by the end of June weekly traffic levels were at around 70% of normal traffic levels
- April was the quietest month across the bridge – but there were still 730,000 journeys made between Runcorn and Widnes
- Over 98% of all crossings were paid for on time – a record high of 98.15% in total, though this is partly due to lower traffic levels and a greater percentage of crossings being made by registered customers
The number of PCNs and income from PCNs also dropped significantly. PCNs were still issued during lockdown when people did not pay, but most enforcement activity was paused.
Neil Conway, Chief Executive of merseyflow, said: “We are pleased to see journey numbers on the rise after lockdown and the highest number of crossings paid for on time. However, we do recognise that this will be due to the fact that most journeys were made by registered customers during April and May, when only essential travel was advised.”
The merseyflow quick pay app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, has been downloaded over 39,000 times since it was launched in November. An average of 550 – 650 crossing payments are made using the app every day, with June seeing the highest number of payments being made via the app (over 16,000 in total).
In the next few weeks, the app will be updated to take on board customer feedback. This includes the option for customers to save their payment details for even quicker transactions and to make the use of the Quick Pay App even more convenient.
Neil added: “It’s great to see so many people downloading and using the app as lockdown eases. I recommend that anyone who is paying for individual crossings downloads and uses the merseyflow quick pay app as it is the quickest and easiest way to pay for individual journeys.”
Mike Bennett, Managing Director of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “It’s unsurprising that April showed the lowest number of traffic levels recorded, however I am glad to see the numbers slowly but surely increasing on a week by week basis. I think these figures reflect the relaxing of lockdown, and we expect the traffic levels to continue rising throughout the summer.”
He added: “It’s always worth reminding people that anyone who uses the bridge regularly can register with merseyflow and save up to 10% on each journey you make.”
The quarterly merseyflow dashboard provides a range of in-depth statistics and graphs which show information on the number of crossings made, average daily traffic, number of PCNs issued, payments made on time, total revenue and what percentage of this comes from PCNs.
The Dashboard can be viewed here