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Mersey Gateway Bridge opens to traffic

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The three-pylon cable-stayed bridge is a UK landmark structure recognisable throughout the North West and beyond, providing a much-needed new crossing of the river and acting as a catalyst for growth in the region.

17.10.2017

COWI led the Mersey Gateway Design Joint Venture – alongside AECOM, Fhecor and Eptisa, with architectural support by Dissing+Weitling - which was engaged by the Merseylink Civil Contractors to deliver the design of the £1.86bn scheme. COWI designed the bridge while AECOM led the design of the landside works including 7km of new roads.

COWI Project Director Paul Sanders commented: "It was fantastic to see the bridge open to the public this morning, marking the culmination of three and a half years of hard work. We developed the bridge's design around rapid construction cycles and long term durability and I'm extremely proud of the role our engineers played in delivering the project on schedule."

Dave Beddell, AECOM Europe Sector Leader – Highways, commented: "We are proud of our role in helping to deliver this critical piece of infrastructure.  Through collaboration and an unrelenting focus on delivering a safe and efficient highway design, whilst maintaining wild-life habitats within the estuary corridor, the new Mersey Gateway Crossing will significantly reduce network congestion and improve connectivity for businesses and communities alike."

Designed for construction

The bridge is 2.25km long, with a 1km long cable supported section. Its tallest pylon is 125m high.

Structural and geotechnical engineers from COWI worked closely with the Merseylink Civil Contractors, Merseylink Ltd (the DBFO consortium) and Halton Borough Council to develop a design that could be built quickly and operated and maintained as cost effectively as possible.

The main bridge deck is constructed from pre-stressed and reinforced concrete suspended from the pylons via high strength steel cable stays.

The decks of the approach viaducts were constructed using two 1700 tonne, 157m long self-propelled launching gantries (movable scaffolding systems) enabling rapid and safe construction of a complete 70m long span in a single pour.

On the cable-stayed bridge, six smaller gantries (form travellers) were used to cast the deck in 6m long segments in a typical cycle of just five days.

The design for the bridge was selected from a wide range of options to maximise benefits for users and the local community while minimising the environmental impact on the estuary and its surrounding environment.

About the Mersey Gateway 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.

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.

LAST UPDATED: 17.10.2017