No Mersey Gateway tolls for Halton

The government has announced additional funding for the Mersey Gateway Crossing and Silver Jubilee bridges to provide toll-free access for Halton residents.

Work started on the Mersey Gateway Crossing earlier this year, which will deliver a six-lane bridge designed to improve links between Runcorn and Widnes on the route into Liverpool, easing congestion on the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge.

The bridge is being built by the Merseylink consortium, which includes Kier, FCC, Bilfinger, Samsung CT and Macquarie. Merseylink was awarded the contract to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the bridge in June 2013. Construction is expected to last three-and-a-half years, with the bridge initially scheduled to open to traffic in the first half of 2017.

The announcement is an extension of previous plans to allow locals 300 free trips a year.

Residents of Halton will still be charged to register to use the bridges.

Steve Nicholson, interim chief executive of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: "The £250m savings we have made on the project through our innovative approach to procurement has helped make a toll free crossing for local residents more affordable to government. I would like to thank the project team and also our contractors, Merseylink for delivering such vital procurement savings."

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Brilliant and greatly anticipated news for Halton residents.