Merseylink has been announced as the preferred bidder for the Mersey Gateway Project by Halton Borough Council.
Making the announcement together in the observatory in the Catalyst Museum in Widnes overlooking the River Mersey, the council and Merseylink also confirmed they have jointly identified savings amounting to ‘tens of millions of pounds’ on the projected public sector contribution to the £2 billion project (approx. €2.35 billion) budget.
Merseylink and the council team will work on the final details of the plans before reaching financial close, signing a contract and starting site clearance and demolition later this year. Full details of the winning bid will be published at that time.
The Merseylink plans retain the iconic three-tower design associated with the Mersey Gateway Project but have developed the construction methods.
The Merseylink design for the main bridge is based on a reinforced concrete deck, which is a change from the reference design, based on steel fabrication. This is one of the areas that has produced significant financial savings for the project.
Once a formal financial close is reached, Merseylink will then become the project company and will work with the council to deliver a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns.
The centrepiece of the Mersey Gateway Project is a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey. The existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project, which will bring major estimated economic, transport and social benefits to the region.
Mersey Gateway is being part funded by the Department for Transport. Ministers will consider the Council’s final funding submission later this year. Any financial savings confirmed at that time on the projected budget will be split 70/30 between the UK Government and Halton Borough Council in line with an existing agreement over the 30-year lifetime of the project.
Halton Borough Council will be ploughing its portion of the savings back into the project to improve financial resilience and to reduce the impact of tolls on local residents, including supporting public transport options.
The Merseylink consortium’s equity partners are Macquarie Capital Group Limited, Bilfinger Project Investments Europe Limited, and FCC Construcción. The construction joint venture, made up of Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A. Sanef S.A., will deliver and operate the tolling solution for the consortium.
Its members have delivered many high profile projects around the world in recent years, including the Golden Ears Bridge in Vancouver, the Vidin-Calafat Bridge in Bulgaria, the Incheon Bridge in Korea and the M50 widening in Dublin.
Source: Mersey Gateway