The Mersey Gateway. Image Barry Williams, Ramboll
The Mersey Gateway project is an integral part of the local Sustainable Transport Strategy and covers around 9km of road improvements and a series of major new junctions running throughout Runcorn and Widnes. It will improve journey times and reliability for millions of people and attract massive inward investment and regeneration in the region.
This year has seen a number of significant milestones, including the completion of the 2.25km main crossing deck on the 31st July. This followed the installation of 146 cable stays comprising over 810 miles of cabling and a load bearing capacity of over 53,500 tonnes.
The deck construction progressed quickly over the year with 50% completed in around four months and the entire cable stayed bridge deck, together with the majority of the pylons, constructed in just over a year.
In recent weeks, works have been racing ahead across the entire 9.2km of the scheme, between the A562 Speke Road in the north to Junction 12 of the M56 in the south. Once open, the Merseylink consortium, which was appointed as the project company to design, build, finance and operate the Mersey Gateway Project in March 2014, will run and maintain the road until March 2044, with a tolling system in operation throughout this time.
As the new crossing opens, its predecessor the Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB) (known locally as the Runcorn/Widnes Bridge) will close for essential maintenance, repair works and remodelling. Currently a route of strategic importance carrying over 80,000 vehicles per day in four narrow lanes, it will be transformed into a layout similar to its original two lanes to provide a local crossing capable of supporting 10,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day.
Ramboll has been supporting the £1.86bn DBFO Mersey Gateway scheme since 2001 and, in our capacity as lead technical consultant, we helped to obtain funding approval for the Mersey Gateway project and have provided a suite of expertise including engineering design, construction methods investigation, environmental and transport assessments, remediation, the provision of expert witness services and technical advice during the Competitive Dialogue procurement process. This initial commission extended to the project’s financial close, and now work under a new commission as part of a technical advisor team composed of CH2M, Ramboll, IBI and Knight Architects. Together we are supporting the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board with technical and contractual administration of the project and to help it fulfil its contractual obligations.
[Updated 13 Oct 2017]