Mersey Gateway modifications approved

By Helen Wright13 March 2012

An artist impression of how the six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey in northern England would

An artist impression of how the six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey in northern England would look

A £600 million (€721 million) project to construct a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between the northern UK towns of Runcorn and Widnes has been modified to reduce its overall cost and impact on local residents.

Halton Borough Council said the route of the new six-lane crossing had not been changed, but the design flexibility available to the eventual winning contractors, which will be responsible for confirming the design of the new bridge, had been increased.

Approved changes to the new bridge include modifications to the form and construction of the bridge deck, the spacing and form of the bridge supports and the geometry of the cables that support sections of the bridge deck.

In addition, the road layouts on either side of the river have been modified to reduce forecast traffic levels on local routes around Halton Brow in Runcorn, and remove the need for large toll plazas in Widnes.

On the Runcorn side of the river, plans for slip roads at either side of Halton Brow have been adjusted to reduce projected peak time traffic levels on the slip road alongside Warrington Road by up to 60% and to improve access to facilities at Halton Lea.

On the Widnes side of the river the modifications are largely based around the removal of the three proposed toll plazas, which will allow a simpler and quicker route through the town.

The Council said the changes would also reduce the overall cost of the scheme by £30 million (€36 million).

The news comes after three consortium bids were shortlist for the £600 million (€721 million) Mersey Gateway contract.

Halton Borough Council leader Rob Polhill said the winner and the start date for the project would be announced in 2013.

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