The iconic new £600m Mersey Gateway bridge will open to traffic just after midnight on the morning of Saturday (October 14).

The plan is, weather depending, to have the bridge lit up with a spectacular light show and fireworks display on Friday evening, a few hours before it opens to traffic.

The announcement confirms the project will open on time and under budget after Halton Borough Council and the successful bidder, Merseylink, worked together to save around £250million on the project costs during the procurement process.

The overnight opening of the project road is the culmination of more than three-and-a-half years of construction work, with the new bridge being the iconic centrepiece of the huge project.

The Mersey Gateway Project covers over nine kilometres of road improvements across Halton, including the bridge and a series of major new junctions running through Runcorn and Widnes.

Its opening will mean quicker, easier and more reliable journeys across the Mersey, and the wider north west region.

The Mersey Gateway bridge crossing the River Mersey and Manchester Ship canal in between Widnes and Runcorn
The Mersey Gateway bridge crossing the River Mersey and Manchester Ship canal in between Widnes and Runcorn

The economic, transport and social benefits the project will bring to the region include:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.

As the largest infrastructure project in England outside of London, the scale of Mersey Gateway is phenomenal. It includes or uses:

  • a 2.2km-long elevated route including a 1,000-metre long stay cable bridge
Drone footage of the Mersey Gateway bridge at Runcorn as captured by aerial imaging company Fly-Site
  • 127,415m3 of concrete
  • 12 new bridges and 7 new or upgraded junctions across a 9.2-kilometre route through Runcorn and Widnes
  • 810 miles of cables connecting the three pylons to the bridge deck
  • the recovery and re-use of 1,423,2250 tonnes of previously contaminated materials

Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “We’ve watched the new Mersey Gateway Bridge being built up out of the river, we all know people who have contributed to the project in some way, and now it is time for it to open.

“The fireworks and light show will be a spectacular opening, and I’d encourage everyone to come down to see it this Friday night.

“This project has already brought millions of pounds to our regional economy, created hundreds of job opportunities, engaged with thousands of local schoolchildren and transformed our road network, but that is just the start.”

Hugh O’Connor, general manager at Merseylink, said: “Over the past three-and-a-half years the Merseylink team has transformed the Halton Borough landscape, designing and constructing the magnificent cable stay bridge, over nine kilometres of new roads, seven junctions and 12 new bridges and associated highway signal and control systems.

“While the Mersey Gateway Bridge itself has always been our centrepiece, this project is about much more than just a bridge and the complexity and scale of the engineering challenge has reflected that.

Stunning new drone footage showing the pace of progress on the Mersey Gateway Bridge has been released (April 2017). Footage is provided courtesy of DTW and I-Sky Unmanned Systems

“We’re opening on time and on budget and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, workers and volunteers who have worked so hard to make that happen.

“We appreciate that there will be great excitement at the prospect of being able to drive over the new bridge. However we must urge all drivers to please pay close attention to the new road signage, observe the speed limits, and enjoy the new road whilst the passengers take in the great vistas.

“Remember, the driver must be particularly cautious when driving over the bridge and new road layout for the first time.”

The public viewing locations for Friday’s fireworks display are Spike Island in Widnes and Mersey Road in Runcorn.

The light show starts at 8.30pm with the fireworks display due to start at 8.45pm. The event ends at 9.05pm and there will be limited edition Mersey Gateway merchandise sold at both locations with all profits going to the Mayor’s charities.

Just before the new bridge opens just after midnight, the Silver Jubilee Bridge, which has been open since July 1961, will close for 12 months for refurbishments.

The new and improved link roads connecting the new bridge to the M56 and the main route towards Liverpool and the M62 will also open at the same time.

Once the bridge opens, tolls will be enforced immediately. Dedicated cameras and sensors will read vehicle number plates and special merseyflow stickers to charge drivers.

Anyone who doesn’t pay by 11.59pm the day after they cross will receive a penalty charge notice.

To register with merseyflow please visit, to find out more about the bridge project visit