A second bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes will go ahead, despite £83billion Government spending cuts, after the funding package for the Mersey Gateway Project was approved.


Earlier this week, the project to connect Runcorn and Widnes with a second bridge was given the green light by a planning committee, though the funding had still not been released.


However, Chancellor George Osborne  ensured that the project is to go ahead, stating that the £431million second Mersey crossing is vital for future economic growth.


Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project Director, said: “This

announcement today is an expression of the Government support

for Mersey Gateway. We are now looking to get a project team very

much back in the process of delivering the project.”


The Mersey Crossing Group was formed nearly 17 years ago and it

has spent £22m to pursue a second connection between Runcorn

and Widnes.


The proposed scheme involves building a six-lane bridge

approximately one mile away from the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge,

which is 50 years' old in 2011. Additionally, the old viaduct will be

improved for public transport facilities such as walking and cycling.


The overall length of the bridge is approximately one and a half miles

and the height of the river bed is 135m. The proposed speed limit

across the river is 60mph, 20 more than that of the Silver Jubilee Bridge.


Once it opens in 2015, a toll will be in operation on both the new and the old bridge. The exact toll levels are still to be determined but they are likely to be similar to the cost of travelling through one of the Mersey Tunnels, currently £1.40 for a car.


Mersey bridge spared from £83billion cuts

By Dawid Koziol, International Editor

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An impression of the crossing between Runcorn and Widnes; YouTube: Mersey Crossing project explained