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
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.
By Dawid Koziol, International Editor
More JMU Journalism stories
An impression of the crossing between Runcorn and Widnes; YouTube: Mersey Crossing project explained