Mersey Gateway: connecting societies

Featuring a new 1km six-lane cable-stayed toll bridge over the river Mersey and a further 1.2km of raised approaches, the Mersey Gateway was the largest infrastructure project in the North-West of England and plays an integral part of the local Sustainable Transport Strategy
The new Mersey Gateway bridge is accompanied by a new-look road system stretching nine kilometres of road improvements and new junctions connecting Runcorn to Widnes. The bridge is the centrepiece of the project, forming a landmark structure that will become an icon throughout the North-West and beyond. The design is based on a cable-stayed structure, similar to the Queensferry Crossing, with three slender towers rising from the estuary. The 80m high central tower stands shorter than the two outer towers, with the north tower standing 110m high and the south tower at 125m high. This unusual design was chosen to minimise the environmental impacts on the estuary. The bridge carries a highway made up of three lanes in each direction spanning 1km across the river. In total the crossing is 2.13km long including the approach viaducts on each side.
Reduced journey times, emissions, and cleaner air
Ramboll has played a significant role in the Mersey Gateway bridge, the spearhead of a 20-year regeneration project in the Halton region. Halton, which borders each side of the Mersey, is one of the smallest boroughs in the country, yet it has delivered one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country. The bridge provides a significant reduction in journey times, easing congestion for millions of people and reducing carbon emissions. The bridge will attract massive inward investment and regeneration in the region, with over 4,000 permanent direct and indirect jobs adding to Gross Value. Add to this cleaner air, the remediation of the contaminated land surrounding the crossing, improved pedestrian, cycling and public transport access to the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge, and it’s easy to see why the opening was so eagerly awaited.
Award winning remediation and feat of engineering project
Prior to starting the main works contract, Ramboll was responsible for managing several advance works contracts procured to mitigate programme risk, including advance diversions of statutory apparatus and an advance remediation contract.
Over the course of 13 months, we recovered almost 17 tonnes of chlorinated solvent contamination from beneath the ground.
The remediation project has attracted numerous awards, including the North West CIHT Best Practice Award, the Ground Engineering Sustainability Award and the CIHT Technological Application Award where judges commented, “We were impressed by the innovative remediation process, which recovered a substantial volume of technically challenging solvents, using in-situ technologies rather than bulk excavation…The project was delivered at a fixed cost, on time and within budget, with close stakeholder engagement being maintained at all times”.
The Mersey Gateway also picked up a special award from the ICE, that said "In recognition of ICE's bicentenary and a phenomenal feat of engineering which has changed the local skyline, the Mersey Gateway project is awarded the ICE 200 Special Award".
Ramboll has supported this ambitious project since 2001. In our capacity as lead technical consultant, we helped to obtain funding approval for the Mersey Gateway project and have provided a suite of expertise including Route Selection, Construction Methods Investigation, Engineering Design, Environmental Impacts Assessment and transport assessments, remediation, the provision of Expert Witness services and Technical Advice during the Competitive Dialogue procurement process to support Halton Borough Council’s negotiations with the three international bidding consortia and the preferred bidder’s design development under a Design Development Agreement. This initial commission extended to the project’s financial close, when plans were agreed, and capital guaranteed. The bespoke contract for the Mersey Gateway Project was formally awarded to the preferred bidder, the Merseylink consortium as the project company to design, build, finance and operate the Mersey Gateway. The consortium consisted of Macquarie Capital, Bilfinger Project Investments and FCC Construcción S.A who employed a Construction Joint Venture of Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T Corporation, and FCC Construcción S.A.
Ramboll continued its involvement on the scheme working under a new commission as part of a technical advisor team. This comprised CH2M Hill, Ramboll, IBI Group and Knight Architects, to support the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board with the technical and contractual administration of the project and to help it fulfil its contractual obligations. The team also provided technical staff for both the core (site based) and non-core (remote) elements of the team, ensuring the efficient construction of the bridge.

“Ramboll played a critical role in the project right from the very start, partnering us to secure funding, leading the remediation work and ensuring the designs and delivery met the very highest standards throughout. Quite simply the project wouldn’t have happened without their continuing support.”

Rob Polhill
Leader of Halton Borough Council

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  • Barry Williams


    +44 7587 639701

  • Peter Curran

    Senior Market Director, Bridges

    +44 7736 497481