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New bridge may be open within weeks

New bridge may be open within weeks

Construction work on the Mersey Gateway Bridge has progressed so well that it could be open within the next few weeks, ahead of schedule. 

If the £600 million crossing between Runcorn and Widnes is ready for traffic next month, it will be several weeks ahead of the original date. This marks a major achievement for the Merseylink consortium building it, which includes Kier, Samsung and Spanish contractor FCC.

General manager of Merseylink Hugh O'Connor said: "[All] along we said we’d be opening in autumn 2017 and it is great to be able to keep that promise. We’ll update everyone with a firmer date as we get closer to opening, but we’re confident that we will open by mid-October at the latest.

"Much of our final work is weather dependent, but we will be able to give a definitive date around five days ahead of opening."

The project has taken three-and-a-half years to carry out and the six-lane bridge has been delivered both on time and in budget, barring some unforeseen last-minute problem.  

When open, drivers will have to pay a toll, but they will be using a bridge that  not only offers an easier way across the river, but also features a unique design. The cables supporting the bridge are linked through three towers, with the central one being shorter than those at each end.  

If the bridge does open next month, it will be the second prestige river crossing in the UK to do so in as many months.

The August Bank Holiday weekend saw the opening to traffic of the Queensferry Crossing over the River Forth, the third bridge to be built across the estuary and the second road crossing.

Costing £1.35 billion, it is the tallest bridge in Britain and will be formally opened by the Queen on September 4th.

Senior site engineer John Redpath told the BBC the area is a "unique location", as it means three different major bridges have been built across the Forth in different centuries.

Image: iStock


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