Opening of the 1,000m-long bridge is the result of more than three-and-a-half years of construction work across Halton, with the bridge acting as the centre-piece for the huge road project
Cars are now crossing the £600m new Mersey Gateway Bridge following a spectacular fireworks display.
Just before it opened the Silver Jubilee Bridge was closed to traffic for around 12 months for refurbishment.
The opening of the 1,000m-long bridge is the result of more than three-and-a-half years of construction work across Halton, with the bridge acting as the centre-piece for the huge road project.
The project opened on time and under budget after Halton Council and the successful bidder, Merseylink, worked together to save around £250m on the project costs during the procurement process.
It features more than 9km of new roads, seven junctions and 12 new bridges and an integrated traffic control information system, that uses innovative smart road technology.
The project was the largest infrastructure project in England outside of London, and features:
- A 2.2km-long elevated route including a 1,000-metre long stay cable bridge
- 127,415 sq m of concrete
- 12 new bridges and seven new or upgraded junctions across a 9.2-kilometre route through Runcorn and Widnes
- 810 miles of cables connecting the three pylons to the bridge deck – almost enough to stretch from Lands End to John O’Groats
- The recovery and re-use of 1.5m tonnes of previously contaminated materials
- The bridge has a weight bearing capacity of 53,500 tonnes – equivalent of the QE2 cruise ship
The new and improved link roads connecting the new bridge to the M56 and the main route towards Liverpool and the M62 are also now open.
Now the bridge is open a free flow tolling system is in operation. This means there are no toll booths on the bridge, which means traffic can move quickly across the route.
Dedicated cameras and sensors read vehicle number plates and special merseyflow stickers to charge drivers.
Anyone who crosses the bridge and who doesn’t pay by 11:59pm the day after will receive a penalty charge notice. You can register for discounts on your journeys across the bridge at www.merseyflow.co.uk.
Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Council and chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “It’s been a busy project which has reshaped our borough, and led to a huge amount of work across it.
“Now the project has been completed on time and under budget, it stands as an iconic, landmark structure that will help to put Halton on the map, while eliminating congestion across the borough.”