Government pumps £90m into two Merseyside transport projects

Transport minister Rosie Winterton today granted £91.8m for a new bypass in Sefton and viaduct strengthening work on the approach to one of the Mersey tunnels in Wirral.

Winterton said: "The Bidston Moss Viaduct connects the M53 and local roads in Wirral to the Kingsway Tunnel under the Mersey and is a key strategic route for motorists travelling to and from Liverpool city centre, the city's port and other North West transport links.

"More than £76m of Government money will be spent on strengthening the viaduct's structure. I welcome this partnership work between local authorities, the Highways Agency and Department for Transport which will allow the current weight restriction to be lifted, improving traffic flow.

"I am also pleased to announce £15.6m of Government funding to support Sefton's proposal to build a new link road taking traffic heading to and from the key Switch Island junction away from local communities. This will bring safer and more reliable journeys for all road users in Sefton while providing much needed relief to residents in Thornton and Netherton by reducing congestion, noise and pollution created by rat-running through these local communities."

Structural repairs to the Bidston Moss Viaduct will mean the current weight limit restricting vehicles using the outside lane of the central structure to 3.5 tonnes will be lifted. This will improve traffic flow across the structure which carries around 63,000 vehicles a day, including approximately 5,000 HGVs.

The scheme has been jointly developed by Wirral council, Merseytravel and the Highways Agency. The next step will be for the Highways Agency and authorities to appoint a contractor to design and carry out the strengthening works. Design work will start at the beginning of 2009 and the strengthening work is expected to begin in summer 2010, with completion by summer 2012.

The Thornton to Switch Island Link will take thousands of vehicles a day away from narrow residential streets between Switch Island, where the M57, M58, A59 and A5036 meet, and the A565 to Southport and Crosby. This will particularly benefit Netherton and Thornton. The scheme is expected to be completed in 2012.

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