The Mersey Gateway
By Richard High08 November 2010
The Mersey Gateway is a major project to construct a new toll bridge over the river Mersey, Liverpool, UK between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes and is part of a long term plan to regenerate the area.
On 10 June 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government announced a delay to all transport schemes currently progressing through the planning process, including the Mersey Gateway.
All these schemes will now be assessed as part of the government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
Local government agencies have submitted their response to the CSR and a response is expected by the end of this year (2010).
According to a local government statement, the Mersey Gateway "fits well against the CSR criteria government will use to determine which schemes will progress." It is therefore expecting a positive result to the consultation process.
In particular, Mersey Gateway:
- Is a major economic driver delivering new jobs and increased economic opportunities - a priority for government
- Is predominantly private sector funded
- Is a "user pays" infrastructure proposition
- Reduces the current carbon footprint generated by vehicles crossing the River Mersey
- Offers excellent value for money for government and the public purse
- Significantly enhances network resilience
- Significantly enhances regional resilience
The project also includes or facilitates:
- 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
- the improvement of regional transport links to encourage new and inward investment and
- road user charges on the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge between the two towns
The new bridge will:
- cross the river around 1.5 km to the east of the Silver Jubilee Bridge
- be a tolled crossing with a suggested speed limit of 96.5 km/hour
- have three lanes across the Mersey in each direction
- link the Central Expressway in Runcorn with the Eastern Bypass and Speke Road in Widnes
- mean an estimated 4640 new jobs through direct employment, regeneration activity and inward investment
- generate an estimated UJK£ 61.9 million (US£ 100 million) a year in Gross Value Added by 2030