Merseylink preferred bidder for Mersey Gateway

By Sarah Ann McCay24 June 2013

Artist's impression of the Mersey Gateway Bridge

Artist's impression of the Mersey Gateway Bridge

Halton Borough Council has named the Merseylink consortium as the preferred bidder for the £600 million (€700 million) Mersey Gateway toll bridge contract in the UK.

Merseylink is made up of two consortia: concession and construction. The concession consortium includes Bilfinger Project Investments Europe, FCC Construcción and Macquarie Capital Group. The construction consortium includes FCC Construcción, Kier Infrastructure and Samsung CT.

It is the largest ever UK signing for Spanish contractor FCC. The 30-year contract is to design, build, finance and operate a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.

The 1km cable-stayed structure will be 42m wide and have a maximum height of 125m. The new bridge is expected to cut journey times by up to 10 minutes and is projected to carry more than 80,000 vehicles a day.

The Merseylink design for the main bridge is based on a reinforced concrete deck, which is a change from the reference design, based on steel fabrication. According to the consortium, this has produced significant financial savings for the project.

The project also includes upgrading 7km of access roads, building 2.5km of new toll road, and upgrading 4.5km of toll roads, as well as other communication links. A multi-lane free-flow tolling system will be installed which will read number plates automatically without requiring traffic to stop.

Bridge construction is expected to start in early 2014 and to last three-and-a-half years. It is scheduled to open to traffic in the first half of 2017.

The existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project.

The total project costs/revenues over the next 30 years are estimated at £2 billion (€2.35 billion).

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