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£250m bridge project unveiled

INVESTIGATION work is to start early next year to pave the way for a second bridge across the Mersey.

INVESTIGATION work is to start early next year to pave the way for a second bridge across the Mersey.

On Friday, councillors, businessmen, police and Liverpool airport chiefs listened as project managers Gifford and Partners outlined possible designs for the proposed bridge and discussed its environmental impact on Halton.

A computer-enhanced photograph shows what the new bridge will look like

The borough council and business leaders throughout Halton, Cheshire and Merseyside believe congestion on the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge is a 'key constraint point' on development and commerce within the region.

Traffic figures currently stand at 80,000-a-day using the crossing and experts believe numbers could soar by nearly 20% within five years.

Earlier research concluded that a new crossing would boost the economies of Runcorn and Widnes.

But researchers also warned construction of the £150m crossing could have an adverse impact on the environment and wildlife on both banks of the Mersey.

Gifford and Partners has spent the past five months gathering information about the proposed site of the bridge to evaluate its likely impact on the immediate area.

According to a council report the four main objectives of a new Mersey crossing are:

* To relieve the Silver Jubilee Bridge and remove the constrain on local and regional development and better provide for local traffic needs.

* To maximise development opportunities on the riverfront and in Halton.

* To improve public transport links across the river.

* To encourage the increased use of cycling and walking across the bridge.

The favoured area studied by Gifford and Partners for the new bridge is a route from the Central Expressway in Runcorn to the east of the former Albright & Wilson works.

A spokesman for the project managers told the Weekly News: 'We are on a knife-edge 24 hours a day as far as traffic is concerned over the Mersey.

If a new bridge is not built it is likely that within a few years the rush hour on the bridge will last all day.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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