Major Ditton roadworks scheduled for April with focus on work at weekends and at night-time to minimise disruption

Dates for major infrastructure works on one of the main approaches to the new Mersey Gateway Bridge have been confirmed.

Essential road closures around Ditton Junction in Widnes have been scheduled for this month, with the majority of work taking place at weekends and overnight to minimise disruption.

Work will start on 10 April and last for around three weeks, but the closures will not be in place each and every night, and there will be no work taking place over the Easter weekend itself.

When they are closed, the on and off slip roads from Speke Road to Ditton Road will be closed from 7.30pm at night to 5am each day and completely from 9.30pm on Friday nights to 6am on Monday mornings. Only one of the slip roads will be closed at a time to minimise the impact on traffic.

Ditton Road West will be opened up to two-way traffic for the duration of these works to minimise congestion in the area and improve access for local businesses operating in and around the 3MG site and the wider Ditton Road area.

The southbound diversion, for traffic heading towards Widnes and Runcorn, will run along Everite Road and Marshgate before joining Hale Road and then Ditton Road.

The northbound diversion will see traffic coming from the Silver Jubilee Bridge diverted along Ditton Road to re-join Speke Road further west.

There is significant ongoing work already taking place in the area, and the total closures are required for piling works, gantry installation and trench crossings to lay utility cables across Speke Road.

From around mid-May Ditton Road will return to being a westbound only route while work continues in the area to reconfigure the connecting routes around Ditton Junction.

When work is complete in this area and the new bridge opens later in the year, Speke Road will be linked directly to the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and traffic will be able to travel uninterrupted across the River Mersey.

Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of the Merseylink Consortium, said: “Anyone who drives along this route will be very familiar with the diversions we are using and will know that there is some disruption to traffic while we build the link road to the new bridge. We’re working hard to minimise the closure periods and schedule the works outside of busy times, so we’d just ask everyone using the route to drive carefully and safely through the area.”

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “I’m pleased that these works are being scheduled for times when there will be less traffic on the roads so fewer people will be inconvenienced by any delays. The new route will mean quicker, easier and more reliable journeys over the river in Halton and we are all looking forward to the new bridge opening later this year.”

Drivers can keep up to date with traffic management issues around Widnes and Runcorn by watching for new alerts on road signage and social media, or by visiting the Down Your Street section on the Mersey Gateway website.

The economic, transport and social benefits the project will bring to the region include:

• 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
• 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
• £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.

When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to Halton residents. More detailed plans about the tolling arrangements have recently been released and can be found at www.merseyflow.co.uk.

Ends

For further information please contact Chris Taylor or Chris Sealey at DTW on 01287 610 404 / 07949 287 356 / 07786 512 833 or email chris@dtw.co.uk or chris.sealey@dtw.co.uk.

Editors Notes:

About the project

The Mersey Gateway Project will be one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in the UK over the coming years. The Mersey Gateway Project has been identified as one of the UK government’s Top 40 priority projects in the National Infrastructure Plan and it has been recognised by KPMG as one of the ‘Top 100 infrastructure projects around the globe’.

Its features will include:
– a 1,000m long cable stay bridge consisting of four spans supported from three towers in the estuary;
– a unique design where the 80m high central tower will be shorter than the two outer towers, which will be 110m (north tower) and 125m (south tower) ;
– a total length (including the bridge and approach viaducts) of 2.13km;
– a deck carrying six lanes of traffic (three in each direction) with a speed limit of 60mph;
– up to 30 supporting piers carrying it across the approach viaducts; and
– a curved approach at each end of the bridge giving varying views of its unique design and maximising its visual impact.

*Residents of Halton will still need to register to use the bridges and there will be a £10 annual charge for this.

You can find out more about the project at www.merseygateway.co.uk.

About the Merseylink consortium

The Merseylink Consortium was appointed by Halton Borough Council as the project company in 2014, on a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate the project.

Its equity partners are Macquarie Capital Group Limited, BBGI, and FCC Construcción. The construction joint venture is made up of Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A.

Emovis will deliver and operate the tolling solution for the consortium through its merseyflow brand. You can find out more about the tolls at www.merseyflow.co.uk.