There is a new face in charge of the construction team building the £500m Mersey Gateway second river crossing as it moves towards the final 12 months of construction.
Gareth Stuart has been appointed as Merseylink’s project director, taking over the reins from Richard Walker, who has been leading the team for the past two years.
A spokesman for the project said work was on track, adding “it’s not unusual to bring in new people for different phases of major projects like this.”
Stuart has worked for Kier, one of the three partners in the Merseylink construction consortium, for the past 25 years. He recently led a large project team on Kier’s nearby contract for Urenco, enriched uranium manufacturer, in Cheshire.
Prior to that he was operations director for Kier Infrastructure in the north of England and Scotland with responsibility for delivering significant projects such as West Burton CCGT Power Station, Urenco TMF facility and Greenburn infrastructure development.
The new bridge is on track to open within budget in autumn 2017. There are extensive works taking place across Runcorn and Widnes and activity is building up on the main bridge itself. The first cable stays – the giant steel ropes that will connect the three huge pylons to the bridge deck – are due to be installed this autumn, and deck construction is about to start.
Gareth Stuart, Merseylink’s new project director, said: “I am looking forward to my involvement in this exciting and challenging project as it enters this important phase of delivery, leading up to the completion and handover of the works. My priority will be to work closely with our whole team and our colleagues at the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board to ensure we complete the project safely and build a stunning new bridge for the people of Halton and the North West.”
Hugh O’Connor, Merseylink general manager, said: “It’s an exciting time for Gareth to be joining our team, and he will be working with bridge building and highways construction specialists from across the UK and around the world here in Halton.”
Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Council, said: “Gareth is joining the team at a pivotal moment in the Mersey Gateway Project. It’s remarkable how close we are to seeing decades of hard work come into fruition with the completion of the new bridge. The next 12 months are set to be very exciting indeed.”