Mersey Gateway Bridge Open Panoramic 1

VIDEO | Fireworks as £600m Mersey Gateway opens

The Mersey Gateway bridge opened to traffic this weekend, marking the end of construction on the £600m project.

The crossing over the Mersey welcomed its first vehicles at 00:01 on Saturday 14 October, following a firework display to open the bridge after a three-and-a-half year construction period.

The scheme, which is the largest infrastructure project in the UK outside London, included:

  • 12 new bridges and seven new or upgraded junctions over a 9.2km route
  • 127,415m3 of concrete poured
  • 810 miles of cable connecting the bridge’s three pylons
  • A 1,000m long cable-stayed bridge

During the project’s construction period, more than 25,000 people worked on the scheme, with around £129m put into the regional economy through suppliers, subcontractors and the local workforce.

The project has been built by a consortium of FCC Construcción, Kier Infrastructure, and Samsung C&T Corporation, and its equity partners are BBGI, FCC, and Macquarie Capital Group.

Hugh O’Connor, general manager of Merseylink, said: “While the bridge itself is a massive achievement, this project is also about the significant amount of road upgrades and junction improvements that are integral to the connectivity of the scheme too.

“The complexity and scale of the engineering challenge has reflected that, and has helped to create a very different landscape across Halton.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, workers and volunteers who have worked so hard to make this happen. It is the culmination of their sheer determination that has meant we have been able to open on time and under budget.”

Mersey Gateway Fireworks

Tolls started immediately following the bridge’s opening.

So far more than 82,000 vehicles have been registered for discount on the tolls.

The bridge is operating a discount scheme for Halton residents, and anyone who is eligible for the scheme is required to register and pay their £10 annual fee in order to claim free trips.

Merseyflow, which is operated by Emovis, uses a simple windscreen sticker system. Tolls are enforced by cameras on the toll gantry which scans vehicle number plates and windscreen stickers.

Motorists who have not registered with Merseyflow and cross the new bridge will need to pay the full toll rate of £2 for cars, £6 for light goods vehicles, and £8 for heavy goods vehicles by 11:59pm on the day of travel, or face a fine of up to £60. Motorbikes and local buses are not subject to the toll.

Place North West editor Paul Unger tries out the new bridge on opening day

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Thousands have people have started their working week in the knowledge that they’ve just been handed a pay cut of around £90 per month, out of taxed income, so they will need to make up at least £1100 a year to cover that loss.
To pay for the new bridge by collecting tolls is one thing but to close the old, free bridge for a year and then re-open it with tolls is scandalous.

By Ian Jones