Merseylink will now enter financial negotiations with Halton Borough Council and must come up with a figure that is accepted by the government before the concession deal can be signed.
The Mersey Gateway is being part funded by the Department for Transport.
Ministers will consider the council’s final funding submission later this year.
Merseylink can also use the UK Guarantees Scheme to underwrite up to 50% of the project’s construction cost. The government is due to announced the value of the Mersey Gateway guarantee this month.
Financial savings on the projected budget by the time of financial close will be split 70/30 between the government and the council.
Halton said it would plough its portion of the savings back into the project to improve financial resilience and to reduce the impact of tolls on local residents. This would include supporting public transport options.
The council and Merseylink confirmed that they have already identified savings amounting to “tens of millions of pounds” on the projected public sector contribution to the £2bn project budget, which pays for the concession as well as construction.
Full details of these savings will not be released until financial close is reached.
After financial close, Merseylink will become the project company and will work with the council to deliver a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns. But ahead of that advanced works are already underway.
Special Mersey Gateway report: DfT to share savings with council client