The £600m Mersey Gateway Bridge opened at the weekend, ‘on time and under budget’.
The new six lane toll bridge over the Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes opened to traffic just after midnight on Saturday morning (14 October) following a fireworks display.
The project as a whole features more than 9km of new roads, seven junctions and 12 new bridges and an integrated traffic control information system that uses innovative smart road technology. A free flow tolling system is in operation.
The Mersey Gateway Project said the bridge will mean quicker, easier and more reliable journeys across the Mersey, and the wider north-west region.
The bridge opened just after midnight
It said construction costs are estimated at £600m, while the cost of operation, maintenance and finance will take the cost of whole project to £1.86bn up to 2044.
Halton Borough Council and successful bidder Merseylink worked together to save around £250m on the project costs during the procurement process.
Rob Polhill, leader of Halton BC and chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: ‘After three-and-a-half years of hard work I am proud to announce the Mersey Gateway Bridge is open. It’s been a busy project which has reshaped our borough, and led to a huge amount of work across it.
‘Now the project has been completed on time and under budget, it stands as an iconic, landmark structure that will help to put Halton on the map, while eliminating congestion across the borough. It will help make Halton a destination where businesses want to invest and families want to live. I would like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in turning our dreams into reality.’
The new bridge aims to relieve the ‘congested and ageing’ Silver Jubilee Bridge, which has now closed for around 12 months for refurbishment. Both bridges will be tolled, but eligible Halton residents and Blue Badge holders can have unlimited trips once they have registered with Merseyflow.
The project is the largest infrastructure project in England outside of London and features:
- a 2.2km long elevated route including a 1,000 metre long stay cable bridge
- 127,415 cubic metres of concrete
- 12 new bridges and 7 new or upgraded junctions across a 9.2km route through Runcorn and Widnes
- 810 miles of cables connecting the three pylons to the bridge deck
Work on the project has included:
- Almost 5,000,000 man hours / days spent on construction
- More than 25,000 people from at least nine countries across the globe have worked on the project
- more than £129m of work put into regional economy across hundreds of different suppliers and sub-contractors