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Mersey Gateway bridge backers make spending review submission

Halton Borough Council has laid out proposals to fund its new bridge over the River Mersey to link Runcorn and Widnes in a bid to win Government backing.

Halton Borough Council’s Mersey Gateway submission to the Government’s Spending Review contains plans on how the six lane toll bridge will be funded and the benefits it will bring to the region.

Peter Nears, chair of the Liverpool SuperPort Committee, said: “An effective transport system is paramount, especially access for freight and to major roads and rail networks. A new crossing of the River Mersey at Runcorn is critical to this.”

The council and its private sector backers believe the bridge plan is in a strong position to meet the Government’s spending criteria. Theproject will be more than 70% funded by the private sector and bring benefits that are four times greater than its cost.

The council also said the bridge will produce an estimated 4,640 new jobs through direct employment, regeneration activity and investment in the area.

Councillor Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “Mersey Gateway will be a crucial piece of the reliable transport infrastructure
that the private sector needs for it to invest in this region.”

“Much of what we say is well known and demonstrates the scheme’s exceptional value for money”

Steve Nicholson

Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway project director, said: “Although much of what we say is well known and demonstrates the scheme’s exceptional value for money, the submission addresses the particular points the Government has set out in its criteria for the Spending Review.”

Plans for the bridge were put on hold on June 10, along with all major transport schemes across the country, by the new coalition Government.

It is now being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the outcomes of which are due to be reported in Parliament on 20 October.

The Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project.

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