Mersey Gateway Progress Taking Shape

new mersey gateway bridge runcorn
The new Mersey Gateway bridge as seen looking south from Widnes across to Runcorn on the south side of the estuary

Work on the new bridge crossing between Runcorn and Widnes in Cheshire is gaining momentum

It will be welcome news to many North West motorists that work on the new Mersey Gateway crossing is at last making progress. After years of negotiations between local government authorities, industry leaders and central government we can see things starting to take shape.

Traffic congestion is set to get much worse however before it gets better. Local road closures on both sides of Manchester Ship Canal will soon start to have an adverse affect on motorists journeys. The Speke Road slip road in Widnes to the Ditton Roundabout is scheduled to shut this Tuesday for five months and motorists have been warned to expect major delays!

Our drivers here at D&D Coatings spend many hours during the course of each month stuck in traffic. Just this week our managing director, Paul Drinkwater, was delayed by over 2 hours and was late for an important site meeting with another new client. We dread to think what traffic congestion costs our company each year in time and fuel costs. This only emphasizes the need for more robust infrastructure here in the UK.

When the new bridge opens in 2014 it will be tolled, along with the existing Silver Jubilee bridge, at £2 per one way trip. Halton residents in both Widnes and Runcorn will be able to use both bridges free of charge in an announcement made by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in July 2014. There will be no toll booths on either bridge unlike the Mersey tunnels.

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The eFlow system on Dublin’s M50 motorway, above, the same technology that will be used on the new Mersey Gateway

Toll charges will be collected using the open road rolling system as used by the Irish Highways Agency on motorways including the M50 Dublin orbital, M1, M3, M4, M6, M7 and M8 motorways across Ireland. This will ensure traffic moves smoothly and we don’t see the problems endured by motorists in Liverpool and Wallasey during rush hour.

Expanding this system to both new roads and existing busy routes such as the M6 motorway could be the future. We believe the time saved with shorter journeys to our sites across the country would out way the extra toll costs, and we’re sure many businesses would agree. Currently traffic monitoring systems are too slow to react and alert road users to congestion. Quite often we find ourselves stationery in a traffic jam with no indication to any problem displayed on our screens until its too late.

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Some of our vehicles on site in Nottinghamshire after enduring long traffic jams

Our staff travel across the UK every day and with our expanding fleet of vehicles this is translating into more man hours on Britains roads than ever. So our question is, could tolling Britains roads be the answer to increasing traffic disruption? Or do we need a more radical solution? Time will tell I’m sure but in the meantime we’ll have to continue enduring traffic congestion and simply hope for the best. Our business, every other business and possibly the future of our great nation will depend on a free flowing road network.

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