Rednoses December 2015 Winter Blog Post

December 2015 Winter Blog

Bluenoses December 2015 Winter Blog Post

The Mersey Gateway Bridge - A bridge to prosperity!

The new six lane £600 million Mersey Gateway toll bridge is due to be finished in the Autumn of 2017. When it is complete, it will provide relief for the much over-used Silver Jubilee Bridge (Runcorn Bridge), which currently has over 80,000 vehicles crossing the bridge every day, way more than its recommended capacity.

The new bridge for Runcorn, Widnes and the rest of the Liverpool City Region

The Mersey Gateway Bridge is a welcome addition to the Halton skyline, it's certainly long over due and with almost 1,000 people working on the new Mersey crossing, it will provide a much needed boost to the local economy. The building of the current bridge was the catalyst for the construction of Runcorn new town in 1964. Before the 480 metre long Silver Jubilee Bridge was built, the population of the small town of Runcorn stood at a mere 26,000 people. By 1980, the town had seen over 40,000 people relocated from Liverpool to newly built homes on the south side of the river. Both structurally and culturally, Runcorn has never been the same since.

When everything comes to a Standstill!

Over the last few decades, we've seen traffic chaos in Halton, as all roads leading up to the main through road grinds to a halt. This has had a detrimental effect on the regions economy, as the traffic bottlenecks on the approach to the only road crossing for miles around. Virtually all local businesses have suffered because of this traffic hotspot, leaving them unable to maximise their potential profits and leaving them out of pocket as a result. It's not just the transport industry that has been affected by the inaction of previous governments to fix the problem, all services take a hit when everything comes to a stop. This also has a negative impact on the environment too, as hundreds of vehicles back to back slowly crawl to the bridge, churning out fumes and adding pollution to the already high concentration of carbon in the air.

The Construction Timeline

Building Access Roads May 2014 Aug 2014
Improving the Road Network May 2014 Until 2017
Building a Temporary Bridge Aug 2014 May 2015
Building the Pylon Foundations --- Aug 2015
Building Supporting Tiers Early 2015 Early 2017
Building Elevated Approach Viaducts Aug 2015 In 2016
Building The Main Bridge Sep 2015 Until 2017
Improving the Environment --- Until 2017
The Grand Opening --- Nov 2017
Restoring the Runcorn Bridge Nov 2017 Aug 2018

Just like the 1960's, new homes are again being built in Runcorn. The population of the town now stands at around 69,000, with that figure only increasing over the years. Runcorn and Widnes has seen a massive change in their main industries too, both towns were once heavily reliant on the chemical industry, however in recent years, a rise in manufacturing and delivery services have began to settle in the area. Take Tesco for example, their new state-of-the-art facility in Widnes is testament to that change. The area is ideally situated with great transport links either side of the river, now with a new bridge on the way and additional local projects like the new Liverpool Super Port, things will only get better for Halton and the Liverpool City Region as a whole.

A missed opportunity!

I may be grasping at straws, but I can't help feel that the new bridge has missed an opportunity to expand the Merseyrail network to the new town centre in Runcorn. Other areas inside and outside of the Liverpool City Region are on the Merseyrail network. While Merseyrail plans are afoot to re-open the Halton Curve, expanding the network to the Runcorn side of the river, I still think it's a shame that an extension via the new crossing could not have been acheived. As Halton now falls under the remit of Merseytravel, it could have been another great addition to the town.

The conclusion.

Improving the daily commute over the river is definitely a good thing, considering over 60% of Runcorn has its roots in Liverpool, better connectivity to the cultural home of the town will be warmly recieved. No more queing to get over the bridge, missing the first 15 or so minutes of the match on a Saturday afternoon. No more getting home several hours late from work because of an accident on the bridge, causing gridlock all the way down the River Mersey to Warrington. No more turning in late for work and blaming the bridge, I suppose it's not all good.
So yes, we welcome the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, it will not only boost the local economy, but also lessen the pollution in Halton, we only wish it had been built sooner!