The Mersey Gateway Bridge project is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of a new tolled bridge over the River Mersey in the northwest of England. It is being proposed as an economic driver to regeneration of the Mersey Port area. The project also encompasses the installation and operation of tolling facilities for the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB).
The project has now reached financial close for the winning consortium of Macquarie Capital, Germany’s Bilfinger Project Investments Europe and Spain’s FCC. RPS together with Sweett are appointed Technical Advisors to Macquarie Capital to carry out due diligence at various milestone stages prior to release of funding. New Civil Engineer reports this week that the successful consortium offered to build the bridge for $400m less than budgeted by the Government in 2011. The cost of the construction phase of the project is now estimated at $900m.
The design is based on a cable-stay structure similar to the second Severn Crossing but with three towers. It will be 1km in length across the river and the canals. Three piers in the river will carry the two 300m long outer spans that will cross the naturally occurring deeper water channels of the river at either bank. These will be supported by cable stays attached to towers that rise to 135m above the river bed. The design for the bridge has been selected from a wide range of options. It was chosen because it will bring maximum benefits for users and local people and has a minimal impact on the estuary and its surrounding environment.
The project is expected to help create thousands of new jobs, secure inward investment to the area and deliver important regeneration benefits. The new bridge will improve public transport links across the River Mersey and encourage the increased use of cycling and walking. The project will be over 70% funded by the private sector and part-funded by the Department for Transport and Halton Borough Council. The project may also qualify for government funding under the UK Guarantee Scheme.