Halton’s first bridge over the River Mersey for over 50 years has been completed as part of the construction of the new Mersey Gateway crossing.
The Merseylink construction consortium, which is delivering the new Mersey Gateway Project for Halton Borough Council, has completed the trestle bridge – a temporary bridge that will act as an access platform for construction teams to work from when building the new structure.
It is the first bridge to be built over the River Mersey in Halton since 1961, when the Silver Jubilee Bridge was opened. In May, Construction workers laid the final slab of concrete in the middle of the bridge to join together the two sides, which have been under construction for the past ten months.
The trestle bridge is a live and busy construction site used daily by heavy construction vehicles and sophisticated equipment, and is not open to the public. It is purely an access platform for construction teams to work from when building the new structure.
A lifting section, which can be raised on request to allow boats to pass up and downstream, will be installed shortly.
The trestle bridge will be dismantled and removed completely when the new Mersey Gateway Bridge is in place.
Thomas Duncalf, from Runcorn, was one of the first workers to walk across the new trestle bridge. He said: “I’m excited to be working on the project. It’s a great opportunity. My grandad worked on the Silver Jubilee Bridge and it’s an important part of my family history. I feel honoured to be part of the team building the new Mersey Gateway bridge.”
Richard Walker, Merseylink Project Director, said: “Completion of the trestle bridge marks another important milestone for the Mersey Gateway Project. It will provide us with full access to the river, enabling work to start on the central cofferdam. This is a great achievement for the project and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.”
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossing Board, said: “This is fantastic news and a sure sign that the project is moving forward well. It is very exciting to see all the work taking place in the river and I’m sure that many people, including me, are now looking forward to seeing the main bridge take shape.”
When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free to all Halton residents.