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(page first created 24 May 2009)

NEWS on RUNCORN BRIDGE and "MERSEY GATEWAY" BRIDGE

This is not a full listing of all news from the year dot, but hopefully gives most of the main stories from December 2002. Stories are in date of publication.
For our own report of what has been happening at the Inquiry go to our - Inquiry page

Thursday 30 July 2009
Inquiry Over
  • On Tuesday (28th) the Inquiry was briefly reopened to consider an objection relating to the Council aquiring open space land for the bridge between the Catalyst Trade Park and St Helen’s Canal in Widnes - Click Liverpool - "Runcorn Bridge inspector starts writing report"   Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Runcorn Bridge inspector starts writing report".

    Thursday 9 July 2009
    Tories back the tolls plans
  • Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway bridge is 'a must’, says Halton's Tory PCC Ben Jones ".

    Thursday 2 July 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  • "Halton Council, NAAT, Friends of the Earth and the North West Transport Activists’ Roundtable make closing statements to Mersey Gateway Project inquiry"   "Friends of the Earth and North West Transport Activists’ Round Table raises concerns over pollution"   "Timothy Straker QC outlines Halton Borough Council’s case in Mersey Gateway Project public inquiry"   "John McGoldrick of the National Alliance Against Tolls blasts Mersey Gateway toll proposals".

    Monday 27 June 2009
    Jim Hancock's column in the Liverpool Daily Post
  • "Inquiry takes its toll".

    Friday 26 June 2009
    Report on FPB call for no tolls
  • Though like most reports what you mainly get is the Council spin - Runcorn World - "Halton Council leader confident new Runcorn Widnes bridge will regenerate north west region".

    Last Day
  • New Civil Engineer - "Early finish for Mersey Gateway public inquiry"   Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway Bridge inquiry comes to an end"   Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway bridge inquiry ends".

    Thursday 25 June 2009
    Last Day
  • Today was the last day of an Inquiry. The two Inspectors and their two assistants outnumbered the members of the public present!   Click Liverpool - "Runcorn Bridge inquiry comes to an end"   BBC - "Mersey crossing inquiry finishes"   Local Government Chronicle - "Mersey inquiry draws to a close".

    Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  • "Phil Orford of the Forum of Private Business calls on Mersey Gateway chiefs to scrap plans for tolls on Silver Jubilee Bridge and new crossing"   "MP Mike Hall backs Mersey Gateway Project as closing statements begin".

    Wednesday 24 June 2009
    Near the end
  • Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway Bridge inquiry to end weeks early". There was also a report in the Echo - "Gateway Inquiry is at an end" but this did not make it to the Echo web site.

    Monday 22 June 2009
    The one that got away - didn't
  • Daily Post - "FPB calls for transport grants to pay for Mersey Gateway".

    Thursday 18 June 2009
    One that got away
  • The Forum for Private Business, a national organisation based in Knutsford issued this press release, which was ignored by the Post & Echo - FPB - "Tolls to fund new Runcorn Bridge would hit small firms hardest, warns business group".

    Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  • "MP Derek Twigg has called for Mersey Gateway Project Discounts"   "Halton Council has could lose £14m if Meresy Gateway plans fall through"
    "Peter Nears of Peel Holdings backs The Mersey Gateway"   "Cllr Herbert Manley of Cheshire West and Chester says authority is now behind Silver Jubilee Bridge tolls"   "The BASC launches objection to Mersey Gateway on behalf of Halton Wildfowlers and The Habitat Trust"
    "Warrington Liberal Democrat Dr Jo Crotty claims park and ride schemes will not deter traffic flow through Warrington"   "Michael Gelling, campaigner for residents' rights from Runcorn, awarded OBE" (Michael appaered as an objector at the Inquiry)   "Halton bridge contract on track despite collapse of Wrekin Ltd".

    "Plans “at best deficient”"
  • Liverpool Daily Post - "Traffic fears over Mersey Gateway plan".

    Tuesday 16 June 2009
    One letter that got through the net
  • Liverpool Echo letters - see last letter - "Bridge inquiry".

    Monday 15 June 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - Day 14 (Friday 12 June)
  • Liverpool Daily Post - "Second Mersey bridge ‘more important than tram scheme’, says MP Derek Twigg".

    Saturday 13 June 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - Day 14 (Friday 12 June)
  • Liverpool Echo - "Residents speak of new Mersey bridge traffic fears"   Liverpool Daily Post - "Residents speak of new Mersey bridge traffic fears".

    Firm deal
  • Runcorn & Widnes World - "Halton Council settles with Ventcroft of Astmoor for an undisclosed sum".

    Friday 12 June 2009
    From a Trolls magazine
  • New Civil Engineer - "Environment Agency withdraws objection to Mersey Gateway bridge".

    Tolls Inquiry - Day 13 (Thursday 11 June)
  • Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway inquiry: ‘Put toll on old bridge’"   Liverpool Daily Post- "Mersey bridge toll needed now, say plan critics"   Wirral News - "Mersey bridge toll needed now, say plan critics".

    Thursday 11 June 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - Day 12 (Wednesday 10 June)
  • Liverpool Daily Post - "Planning expert dismisses economic benefits of second Mersey bridge as “pie-in-the-sky”".   Liverpool Echo - "Tolls delay economic benefits says expert at Mersey Gateway Inquiry".

  • Peel, who own much of the region, are backing bridge - Liverpool Daily Post - "Peel Holdings offer support to new bridge across River Mersey".
    A report in Construction News reveals that Peel may have more than a passing interest in the bridge - "North-west won’t see growth until next year".

    Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  • "Warrington Road Residents Association claim changes to the Central Expressway would be a “catastrophic decision”"   "Mersey Gateway Project savings could depend on how often residents use the bridge"   "Protestors claim Mersey Gateway chiefs wrongly named the Weston Link as Lodge Lane Junction in project plans".
    "Steve Nicholson says taking the Daresbury and Weston Point expressways to the M56 would double the cost of tolls"   "Nigel Cossons of The Mersey Gateway Project says possible polution risks can be dealt with"   two letters "Be seen and be heard at Gateway inquiry".

    Friday 5 June 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - Day 9 (Thursday 4 June)
  • Warrington Road Residents Association demonstrate at the start of their turn and tell what they think of the planned route - Liverpool Echo - "Protest over second Mersey bridge"   Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway Bridge protestors tell inquiry 'we would be choked by pollution'".

  • NAAT witness on use of private finance - Liverpool Daily Post - "Private Finance Initiative scheme will make Mersey Gateway Bridge more expensive, says expert".

    Tolls Inquiry - Day 7 (Tuesday 2 June)
  • Another report of Our Day - Runcorn & Widnes World - "Experts quizzed at public inquiry into Mersey Gateway".

    Thursday 4 June 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - Day 8 (Wednesday 3 June)
  • "Trust Us" - Daily Post - "Local people told to trust council on Mersey Gateway toll discounts"   Liverpool Echo - "Objectors to new tolled Mersey bridge told to trust council a residents’ discount will be introduced".

    Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  • Day 8 (Wednesday 3 June) - "Sandra Spruce of Sutton Parish Council blasts “piecemeal” Mersey Gateway Project planning process".
  • Day 7 (Tuesday 2 June) - "John McGoldrick of the National Alliance Against Tolls slams “lack of financial detail”".
  • Day 6 (Friday 29 May) - "Cllr Christopher Lee, Great Sankey Parish Council, tell Mersey Gateway public inquiry that tolls could help turn Great Sankey into a “car park”".
  • Day 5 (Thursday 28 May) - "Paul Cooke, retired civil engineer from Widnes, asks why tolls decision didn’t go to public vote"   "Nigel Cossons of Gifford delivers evidence on Halton toxic land issue at Mersey Gateway inquiry".
  • Day 4 (Wednesday 27 May)- "Dexter, Longhorn and White Park cattle could be brought to Halton for nature reserve near Mersey Gateway"   "Yvonne Brown, Bureau Veritas technical director, presents air quality evidence at Mersey Gateway public inquiry"   "Public inquiry hears Mersey Gateway team promise air monitoring to test bridge’s better air quality claims".
  • Day 3 (Thursday 21 May) - "Proposed bridge tolls revealed at Mersey Gateway public inquiry".

    Wednesday 3 June 2009
    Day 8 (Wednesday 3 June)
  • Evening Session - Runcorn & Widnes World - "Residents urged to have their say on proposed £431 million Mersey Gateway Project".

    Tolls Inquiry - Day 7 (Tuesday 2 June)
  • Deal?? Liverpool Echo - "Traffic deal sees key opponent to new Mersey Gateway bridge withdrawn"   Daily Post - "Warrington Council u-turn on Mersey Gateway crossing after special deal".

    Friday 29 May 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - reports of Day 5 (Thursday 28 May)
  • Liverpool Echo - "Charitable trust to protect environment if Mersey Gateway bridge is built"   Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway: case for buying land ‘compelling’".

    Thursday 28 May 2009
    Tolls Inquiry - reports of Day 4 (Wednesday 27 May)
  • Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway Bridge toll will ‘help control’ air quality".

  • Tolls Inquiry - various reports in today's Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Dr Adrian Williams says Mersey Gateway Project will have limited impact on wildlife"   "Ian Hunt of engineering firm Gifford hails design of Mersey Gateway bridge".
    "Dr Clare Twigger-Ross predicts that Mersey Gateway jobs boost could lead deprived Halton residents to cycle of prosperity"   "Economist Graham Russell says less than half of Mersey Gateway jobs could go to borough".
    "David Parr of Halton Council puts pen to paper on memorandum of understanding with Highways Agency"   "Bid to cut traffic from ‘lower value’ car trips on Halton's Silver Jubilee Bridge"   "Richard Threlfall of KPMG says private sector interest remains strong in the Mersey Gateway Project".

  • Residents to protest about traffic concerns Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Martin Ramsden of Runcorn's Warrington Road Action Group says more protests are planned".

  • Council buys out firm Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Ventcroft Ltd, Runcorn, signs compulsory purchase order agreement with Halton Borough Council".

    Friday 22 May 2009
  • Tolls Inquiry - more reports of Day 2 (Wednesday 20 May) - Today's "New bridge 'good for our health'" report in the Liverpool Echo is not on their website. It mainly covered what the Council's "Social impact" expert had to say about how the new bridge would encourage people to walk and cycle. The expert is also reported as saying that there would be 1,850 jobs for "residents in the most deprived communities".
    The Echo's sister paper does have a similar report - Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway Project will improve health and create new jobs".

    Thursday 21 May 2009
  • Tolls Inquiry - report of Day 2 (Wednesday 20 May) - Jobs galore - Daily Post - "New Mersey Gateway bridge ‘worth £373m to region’". The report says that "Over 80% supported the proposals, with 46% showing strong support." What the repoprt does not say is that the NAAT asked a question of clarification on what was being supported and the answer was that people were not told about putting tolls on the existing bridge.

  • Tolls Inquiry - more reports of Day 1 (Tuesday) - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "John McGoldrick of the National Alliance Against Tolls claims Halton Council has “lost the plot” on tolling the Silver Jubilee Bridge"   Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Timothy Straker QC, makes opening statement for Mersey Gateway project at at Stobart Stadium, Widnes".

  • From Day 2 - "3,700 hours of employment would be generated" - That could be two men for one year or one hundred men for one week - either way they must have big hands - Liverpool Echo - "Jobs claim made at Mersey Gateway bridge public inquiry".

    Wednesday 20 May 2009
  • Tolls Inquiry - more reports of Day 1 (yesterday) - Liverpool Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway bridge ‘will be North West catalyst'" 3 pages   Click Liverpool - "Runcorn Bridge tolls "a disaster" in the making?"   This is Cheshire - "Warrington set to be hit if new Mersey bridge given green light - inquiry hears"   Wirral Globe - "Inquiry told Mersey Gateway river crossing should be scrapped"   Runcorn & Widnes World - "Public inquiry opens into second tolled Mersey crossing - both sides line up to present evidence".

    Liverpool Echo - "Campaigners call for toll on existing Runcorn bridge". It wasn't us, honest!!

  • Backing from the political establishment - The Transport Committee of MPs met today for an evidence session on "Major Road Networks". There were six witnesses including the "Mersey Gateway". Was this a sign that some MPs want to encourage roads privatisation and tolls?

    Tuesday 19 May 2009
  • Tolls Inquiry starts today - BBC - "Mersey crossing inquiry to begin"   Liverpool Echo - "Public inquiry into second River Mersey crossing starts".

    There was a lot of coverage in the North West of the start of the Inquiry. The Council with the unwitting assistance of most of the local news media have largely drowned out the message of the protestors and the Council have succeeded in fooling most people over what they are up to. Here is an example - Runcorn & Widnes World - "Bridge vision is now within our grasp". Here is a more neutral report - This is Cheshire - "Warrington set to be hit if new Mersey bridge given green light - inquiry hears".

  • One of the main backers of the scheme mentioned today at the Inquiry and appearing on all the TV channels was Eddie Stobart the haulage firm. They don't like the M6 tolls, but apparently can't wait to pay tolls at Runcorn which for a lorry could be up to £10 each way. It seems that they must have money to burn.

  • The Leader of the Council in one BBC radio interview revealed why they are pushing for the first ever toll on a free crossing - "The two bridges will be so close together that to have one bridge free and the other bridge charged would be a waste of money as people would not use the new bridge and everyone would try and trundle across the present Silver Jubilee bridge".

  • Lobby - Strangely while most local politicians seem to be aiming to force drivers off the road, they say that they are worried about the future of Vauxhalls - Liverpool Echo - "Cheshire leaders’ demand Detroit mission to fight for Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant".

    Thursday 14 May 2009
  • One week to go - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Public inquiry for Mersey Gateway second crossing between Runcorn and Widnes begins next week".

    Monday 11 May 2009
  • Jim Hancock's column - Daily Post - "A bridge too far?".

    Thursday 7 May 2009
  • Lib Dem angry - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Warrington Lib Dem Dr Joe Crotty slams Government over funding for Mersey Gateway".

  • The Liverpool Echo had a little snippet mentioning the "Warrington Road Residents Association" who "support the use of the Daresbury Exoressway".

    Thursday 30 April 2009
  • Land gamble - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Cost of Mersey Gateway land acquisition could be born by Halton Council tax payers".

  • "Road to Ruin" - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Halton Mersey Gateway protest group adopts name Road to Ruin".

    Thursday 23 April 2009
  • Never mind the quality, the evidence is a mile high - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway team submits statement of evidence to public inquiry".

  • What meeting? - Report from a "Road to Ruin" meeting, which somehow fails to report what the protestors who organised the meeting said - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Alan Lowe and Ellen Cargill of Castle ward and Halton Lea, Runcorn, declare bridge project uncertainty".

    Wednesday 22 April 2009
  • Lib Dem campaigns against tolls on bridges near Liverpool - Click Liverpool - ""Double Standards" charge over Runcorn Bridge".

    Thursday 9 April 2009
  • Traffic worries - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Runcorn Mersey Gateway protest group wants traffic diverted along Daresbury Expressway".

    Thursday 26 March 2009
  • Gordon trying to find his wallet - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Gordon Brown assures Halton MP Derek Twigg over Mersey Gateway".

    Tuesday 24 March 2009
  • Matinee performance - The process which will lead to the first ever toll on a previously free bridge in Britain took another step today with the pre Inquiry meeting at the Brindley theatre in Runcorn - Runcorn & Widnes World - "Countdown to public inquiry". At the meeting the chief Tory on the Council made it clear that his party backs the plan. One local resident was brave enough to point out that people did not know what was happening and that the local news media were only printing Council propaganda.

    Thursday 19 March 2009
  • Board meeting - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway inquiry matters are revealed to board".

    Thursday 12 March 2009
  • The hype goes on - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway bridge axing ‘a gateway to hell’".

    Tuesday 10 March 2009
  • "MORE than 400 people have objected to plans to build a new bridge" - Liverpool Echo - "Objections to new bridge over the River Mersey".

    Monday 9 March 2009
  • Engineers queue up - Daily Post - "World’s best want to build new River Mersey bridge".

    Wednesday 4 March 2009
  • Transport hype - Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway revamp plans go to Halton Council".

    Thursday 26 February 2009
  • 4,000 extra jobs - Are they all in Public Relations and toll collecting? Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Wider Economic Impact Report predicts massive boost to North West economy".

    Tuesday 24 February 2009
  • It's a date - Daily Post - "Planning inquiry for £431m Mersey Gateway will start on May 19"   Liverpool Echo - "Inquiry date set for Mersey Gateway".

    Monday 23 February 2009
  • Do not ask for whom the bridge tolls, just "enquire" - Liverpool Echo - "Date set for new Mersey Crossing public enquiry".

    Wednesday 11 February 2009
  • Toll scheme lawyers also work for Liverpool FC - Daily Post - "Law firm may shed 13 jobs in city".

    Friday 6 February 2009
  • "Economic regime on both bridges" - Cheshire News - "Tolls are a must if bridge is to be built". Amazing that the news media are keeping quiet about the fact that when the toll bridge is built the official forecast is that there will be less traffic crossing the river than if it was not built.

    Thursday 5 February 2009
  • Warrington Lib Dem fights on - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway bridge toll bid sparks war of words"   Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Would-be MP’s bridge anger".

  • Council says it has the readies - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Council pledge over cash for Gateway".

    Monday 2 February 2009
  • Toll law - In December the Council issued the draft Order to put tolls on the free bridge. They are today denying that this means anything. The Council have with the aid of much of the local press managed to somehow befuddle local people so that they don't seem to know that they will be doubly worse off - Click Liverpool - "A bridge over troubled waters at Runcorn"   Click Liverpool - "Runcorn Bridge: tolls order already in place". One mystery with this is why did the Council issue an order in December, when if they had waited till next week they could have used the new toll laws?

  • Pay by credit card? - Daily Post - "Cash not an issue for second bridge".

    Saturday 3 January 2009
  • On your marks, get set, but don't go for a few years at least - Daily Post - "First company is ready to make way for new Mersey Gateway bridge".

    Monday 14 December 2008
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council supports Halton Council!! - Cheshire does not want tolls put on the existing bridge, but it now seems that they will do nothing to oppose it - Chester Chronicle - "New Cheshire council backs Mersey Gateway Bridge".

    Wednesday 10 December 2008
  • Need for jobs - Daily Post - "Halton must bridge the skills gap".

    Friday 5 December 2008
  • Moving round - Liverpool Echo - "Firm makes way for bridge".

    Thursday 4 December 2008
  • More hype - Despite the headline, the money from the Government is very old news, and it is not clear that Cheshire are fully backing the scheme - Runcorn and Widnes World - "Double boost for Runcorn/Widnes bridge plans".

    Thursday 27 November 2008
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council opposes Halton Council - Cheshire does not want tolls put on the existing bridge - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Silver Jubilee Bridge toll under fire".

  • Warrington Chickens vote for Xmas - Warrington Council whose residents will be worst affected by traffic avoiding the Runcorn tolls has despite its concerns, voted to support the proposals.

    Thursday 20 November 2008
  • Jobs have to go to make way for bridge - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Runcorn jobs threat looms from Mersey Gateway bid".

    Wednesday 22 October 2008
  • Government raid the petty cash - Liverpool Echo - "£6m fund boost for bridge".

  • While the begging bowl is taken to China - Daily Post - "Bridge developers look east".

    Thursday 16 October 2008
  • Fear that objectors will be gagged - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "FoE fears bridge shut-out".

  • You can bank on the Government - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Banks bail-out will not affect bridge project".

    Thursday 9 October 2008
  • "On track" (to nowhere) - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Bridge ‘still on track’ as inquiry is launched".

    Wednesday 1 October 2008
  • Call in - Daily Post - "£431m Mersey Gateway plans to go to public inquiry"   Liverpool Echo - "Public inquiry into new bridge".

    Tuesday 30 September 2008
  • Something to look forward to - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Public inquiry into second Mersey crossing".

    Thursday 25 September 2008
  • The only thing that has gone up - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Delays push up gateway bridge bill".

    Thurday 4 September 2008
  • Bridge may kill one business - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "A bridge too far for cable business".
    Denial - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Commitment to keeping jobs".

  • Council "rubber stamps" Tolls Order on existing bridge - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Runcorn bridge tolls get go-ahead".

    Wednesday 3 September 2008
  • When is a bus, not a bus? - Daily Post - "Decision delayed on bridge bus tolls".

    Thursday 21 August 2008
  • Council nods its head again - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Bridge proposal gets council nod".

  • "Cots" up - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Project cots rise ‘due to inflation’". Odd that this story is a month late.

    Friday 15 August 2008
  • Going up - Daily Post - "Cost of new Mersey crossing rises by 11pc".

    Saturday 2 August 2008
  • More loot for the Tunnels - Liverpool Echo - "New Runcorn-Widnes bridge ‘would put more traffic through Mersey tunnels’".

    Thursday 31 July 2008
  • Council turns deaf ear to protests - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Mersey Gateway - protests fail to stop crossing". The paper also told readers "How to have your say", though it did not explicitly mention "tolls".

    Tuesday 29 July 2008
  • Go - Daily Post - "Council backing for Mersey gateway bridge plan"   Liverpool Echo - "Green light for Mersey Gateway".

    Wednesday 23 July 2008
  • "Less traffic using the two bridges than already use just the one" - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Lib-Dems to fight plans for bridge tolls".

    Thursday 17 July 2008
  • Private operator is Father Xmas, so they say - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Pledge to taxpayers over bridge costs".

    Monday 14 July 2008
  • "Correction" - Guardian - "Local authorities face £671m bill after road schemes go over budget". A strange tale, perhaps the Government quotes different figures as it suits them.

    Saturday 12 July 2008
  • Fore!! - It may be that the Council are golf fans, though this deal has probably been done for a variety of motives that may never come to light. The Council talking about "an important green lung for Widnes" is a joke as they plan to turn the former St Michael’s Municipal Golf Course into a tolls plaza!! Daily Post - "Courses on the move as new deal lined up for golf fans".

    Wednesday 9 July 2008
  • Letter in Daily Post - from someone in Ellesmere Port-
    "THE competition seems to be hotting up as to who should have the right to milk the cash cow that is the motorist.
    Merseytravel says it is objecting to the building of a toll bridge out of concern for the motorist but they represent their own interests – in this case, money – and, with regard to congestion at Runcorn bridge and the surrounding area, I believe that they could not care less.
    At the other end of the scale, we have Halton, whose concern is that their cash take on a new bridge would be threatened by there being no charge on the existing Jubilee Bridge.
    Yet look at London’s many bridges, only one has a toll.
    With regards to the idea of the bridge being free for people from Widnes and Runcorn, then perhaps the surrounding towns could charge anyone with a Runcorn or Widnes plate to use their roads or to cross the Thelwall Viaduct? None of these ideas are right and they should all just be incorporated into the national road system.
    The increase in fuel tax due to the oil price rise could build half a dozen such bridges."


    Saturday 5 July 2008
  • Trolls ponder - Daily Post - "Merseytravel objects to new Mersey gateway bridge".

    Wednesday 2 July 2008
  • Warning - Wirral Globe - "Toll bridge ‘hardship for drivers’".

    Friday 13 June 2008
  • What no "icon"? - Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway bridge 'will be symbol of north west'".

    Thursday 12 June 2008
  • Letter in Daily Post - from North West Green Party-
    "IT IS unfortunate that Halton Borough Council and the Mersey Gateway executive board are intent on building a second Mersey crossing at great expense to the taxpayer and to our environment.
    We already know from experience that the M6 toll road has actually increased traffic levels on the M6, the road it was designed to unclog.
    ... What is the alternative?
    With £390m to invest, we could transform the quality of rail and bus links in the sub-region. And a peak time toll on the existing bridge could itself be a powerful congestion buster without the cost of a second bridge.
    Our politicians talk about leadership on the environment, but it remains just talk. .... We pledge to oppose this development, which we believe will be wrong for our region and will be a very poor use of taxpayers’ money."
    .

    Wednesday 11 June 2008
  • "I absolutely promise" - Runcorn & Widnes World - "'I promise bridge tolls discount'"   Liverpool Echo - "Bridge plans go on show".

    Tuesday 10 June 2008
  • Tolls make it a - "Momentous day" - Liverpool Echo - "Mersey Gateway bridge tolls revealed"   Liverpool Daily Post - "Tariff plans for Mersey bridges marks 'momentous day'"   Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Bridge tolls to be used for congestion busting". Odd that no one seems to notice that most of the users would not qualify for a "discount" or that the plan is to reduce traffic or that tolls could be up to £10.

    Monday 9 June 2008
  • Eve of "Momentous day" - Daily Post - "£390m Mersey Gateway’s final design to be revealed". The Liverpool Echo also had a story - "Your chance to finfd out about plans for new bridge". There was the usual pretty colour picture but no mention of any tolls.

    Saturday 17 May 2008
  • More hype - Daily Post - "D-day for green light over Mersey crossing plans"   Liverpool Echo - "D-day for green light over Mersey crossing plans".

    Thursday 24 April 2008
  • TWo for two bridges - Liverpool Echo - "Plans for new Mersey bridge to go before government".

    Thursday 17 April 2008
  • - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Firm may shed 100 jobs if bridge approved".

    Monday 31 March 2008
  • More hype - Daily Post - "Planners in key moves over new £390m Mersey crossing".

    Saturday 29 March 2008
  • And again - Liverpool Echo - "New bridge ‘will be Gateway to the region’s prosperity".

    Thursday 28 February 2008
  • No homes to be demolished - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "No need for orders, say bridge partners".

    Monday 4 February 2008
  • " No pain; no gain" "No other alternative" - Daily Post - "Latest plans for new Mersey Gateway unveiled"   Daily Post - "Comment: Bridging the gap to brighter future".

    Wednesday 21 November 2007
  • More on "Cut-price tolls" - Liverpool Echo - "Locals may pay less on new bridge".

  • New road - (or maybe not, as the new junction is not part of later plans) - Daily Post - "New road planned for Mersey Gateway".

    Tuesday 20 November 2007
  • "Cut-price tolls" - Northwich Guardian - "Cut-price tolls for local residents on Mersey Gateway".

    Monday 12 November 2007
  • Letter from MTUA in Daily Post - "Another barrier on the Mersey ".

    Wednesday 7 November 2007
  • Tolls sales conference - Liverpool Daily Post - "New bridge a gateway to region’s prosperity".

    Thursday 18 October 2007
  • Give us a break, Guv - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Give us a discount on bridge toll, plead residents".

    Tuesday 16 October 2007
  • Fly across? - Liverpool Echo - "JLA backs new bridge". Hardly a surprise as the owners of the Airport are on the "Mersey Gateway" board.

    Tuesday 31 July 2007
  • Free - for buses - Liverpool Echo - "Free ‘cross the Mersey".

  • Airport backing - Liverpool Echo - "JLA backs new bridge". Not surprising as the airport owners are part of the group behind the toll bridge scheme, and they already own a toll bridge over the Ship Canal.

    Thursday 5 July 2007
  • Psst.... tolls going cheep cheep - Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - "Have your say on bridge bid".

    Thursday 21 June 2007
  • Letter in Daily Post - Tolls but no bridge - from Green Party councillor for St Michaels Ward (south Liverpool)-
    "NOBODY doubts the serious congestion problem on the existing Runcorn Bridge and we agree that "do nothing" is not an option.
    The plan for a new bridge already relies on tolls, as well as a huge taxpayers’ subsidy to build new roads to link to it.
    Instead, we can reduce congestion on the existing bridge by phasing in peak-time tolls that will reduce traffic.
    ... There is no future in trying to solve traffic congestion by building new road capacity – traffic quickly expands to fill up the space.
    ........ It is time for local politicians to show a bit of courage and leadership on this.
    Why wait for a new bridge before bringing in the congestion- busting tolls?


    Tuesday 19 June 2007
  • A bridge too everything - Liverpool Echo - "A bridge too far?"   Daily Post - "Stunning bridge is star of roadshow".
    Liverpool Echo Editorial - "Tax on city’s prospects".

    Friday 13 April 2007
  • Wet work - Liverpool Echo - "Ground force!".

    Monday 14 August 2006
  • Desperate to avoid tolls? - Daily Post - "Giant crawls across Mersey". As the mud and water only came up to five feet, it makes you wonder why the authorities said that they couldn't build a toll free bridge at Runcorn as it would cost them £750 million!

    Friday 14 July 2006
  • Letter from abroad - The Echo had a letter from an exiled Scouser (living in Conwy) on the planned tolls on the bridges:-
    "I WOULD like to highlight the future plans for a new Mersey crossing at Runcorn. From what I can find out, they are planning a toll bridge. The impact of this will be that for anybody from Runcorn and North Wales, they will have to pay a toll either at Runcorn or the Mersey tunnels to visit Liverpool.
    Surely Liverpool council and business people must realise this will have a huge impact on visitors from these regions, many of whom originate from the Liverpool area. Also, as North Wales is most probably the No 1 area for days out and holidays for many families from Liverpool, this smells of yet another way to get more money from the lower paid sector."


    Thursday 27 April 2006
  • Tolls plan - Runcorn Weekly News - "Taking the strain".

    Thursday 13 April 2006
  • Anti toll protests may stop building of bridge!! - Runcorn Weekly News - "Don't ruin this for us". Do they mean us?

    Thursday 6 April 2006
  • Tunnels Users complain about tolls, but Chief Consatble can't wait to pay (will he cross for free?) - Runcorn Weekly News - "Don't make us pay".

    Thursday 30 March 2006
  • Reaction from MTUA to previous day's hype and more discount promises - Daily Post - "Toll discounts pledge for new bridge over Mersey ".

    Wednesday 29 March 2006
  • More hype on the "Second Mersey crossing" - Daily Post - "Government approves second river crossing"   Daily Post - "Mersey Gateway gets go-ahead at last ". Runcorn Weekly News on Thursday 30th - "Bridge gets green light".

    The Daily Post seems to have fallen for the trick of the authorities and business interests and again calls it a "Gateway". We can understand them forgetting the crossings up river from Runcorn at Warrington and the Thelwell viaduct, but how do they forget the existing road bridge, the rail bridge, the road tunnels, the rail tunnel or even the ferry?

    You will see little reaction to the bridge being tolled. The Post editoral is headed "Bridge is vital for region's future", it manages to use up over 300 words without using the "t" word. It mentions that the "tunnels are managed by an organisation with little sympathy for the needs of the motorist". We agree (though this is an understatement). But don't the Daily Post know that Merseytravel are part of the consortium sponsoring the new bridge? And do they really think that a privately financed and operated crossing will be run for the benefit of roads users?

    The Liverpool Echo also joined in the bridge hype. The editor did mention that the new bridge would be tolled, but did not even whisper about tolls on the existing bridge. He also said that "toll charges are responsible and not off-putting". We wonder how many Echo readers, other than fat cats and the authorities would agree with him? At one time the Echo was strongly opposed to tolls, we wonder what happened?

    Thursday 9 February 2006
  • Mersey Tunnels Users proposals - A Merseytravel meeting considered proposals from MTUA which included One Way Tolling. This was their response
    "The proposal for one way tolling was very simplistic and was not factually based.
    (a) Postcode analysis of customer returns from the last Tunnel Users' survey undertaken by Simpson Carpenter showed that approx 23% of user journeys originate in areas that may be considered marginal in as much that the user had the option of using either the Runcorn Bridge or the Mersey Tunnels.
    (b) It was not possible to predict with any accuracy what proportion of these users may decide to use the Runcorn Bridge if the Authority were to adopt one way tolling.
    (c) There would also be a corresponding switch of traffic from the Runcorn Bridge to Mersey Tunnels in the non-paying direction.
    (d) It would not be financially prudent to base the Mersey Tunnels budget on an uncertain prediction that may lead to a loss of toll revenues with the associated implications to both revenue and capital budgets.
    (e) The MTUA had not considered what effect on city centre traffic congestion one way tolling may have. Increased demand for tunnel usage in the untolled direction would increase demand on city centre roads which are already heavily congested during peak travel times.
    (f) Preliminary meetings had been held with Halton District Council to discuss tolling options for the proposed Halton Bridge. Should the bridge be constructed it was predicted that a toll would be charged for use. It was prudent for the Authority to liaise with the bridge operator to ensure tolls are collected in the most efficient manner. This would infer one way mutually beneficial tolling.
    (g) In view of (f) it would be prudent both financially and operationally to wait and see if the bridge was constructed before considering one way tolling at the Mersey Tunnels.

    Tuesday 10 January 2006
  • Regional pols back bridge - "Mersey Gateway takes leap nearer". There is no mention of the plan to put a toll on the existing bridge as well as the new one.

    Friday 6 January 2006
  • One that got away - Liverpool Echo - "Second Mersey crossing set for go-ahead today".

    Saturday 24 December 2005
  • "When, rather than if" - "Leader sure of bridge success".

    Saturday 3 December 2005
  • Halton Council is hoping that some of Merseytravel's abortive tram scheme money might go towards a new bridge - "Call to divert Merseytram cash into new bridge plan".

    Tuesday 22 November 2005
  • More hype -"Gateway delegation in call for Government backing". The Liverpool Echo and Daily Post have a blind spot as they always refer to the need for a "second Mersey crossing". The first is apparently the Runcorn bridge, and the Mersey Tunnels don't exist. The Post mentions the "private contractors who would run the tolling operations which it is now accepted would be part of the new bridge." It neglects to say that they also want tolls on the existing bridge!

    Friday 11 November 2005
  • Amazed - The Daily Post has a letter from the leader of the Tory group on Halton Council saying he is amazed that if the tunnels are still crippled with debt then how can they consider using tolls to pay for trams. It seems that his amazement diod not stop him backing tolling the Runcorn bridge.

    Thursday 8 September 2005
  • Less Road "Obstruction"- More Barges - It appears that they are looking at reopening some canal locks at Runcorn and "It is hoped that if the second Mersey crossing gets the go-ahead 90% of existing traffic will be redirected, leaving room to remove the present obstruction." Weekly News - "Mayor on board campaign"

    Thursday 11 August 2005
  • More on Bridge delayed - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "A bitter disappointment".

    Friday 5 August 2005
  • Bridge delayed - Daily Post - "Trams and bridge hang in the balance" (The main bit about the bridge is on the third page "Minister delivers crossing body blow".)
    The news on the Runcorn bridge is that the "Roads" Minister, Doctor Ladyman, has written to Halton Council further delaying any decision on the bridge. The likely real reason for the delay is revealed at the end of the Daily Post story:- "Any new bridge would almost certainly have to be tolled, leading to tolling on the current bridge." Tolling a free crossing would be a first in Britain, and perhaps the Government believe that the people have not yet been softened up enough to accept this highway robbery.

    Friday 17 June 2008
  • I'm a Neanderthal bridge - Liverpool Echo - "New Mersey bridge is region's 'missing link'".

    Thursday 16 June 2005
  • Runcorn Bridge Mystery - One lane bridge? - Cheshire Weekly News - "Firm has designs on bridge".

    Friday 13 May 2005
  • Derek Twigg backs Money for trams and trains - The Halton MP is all in favour of lots of public money for trams and trains - Daily Post - "Twigg hopeful over rail cash". We wonder how Derek will use his influence when it comes to tolling the new and existing bridges at Runcorn?

    Thursday 26 May 2005
  • Derek Twigg says walk - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Transport MP going places".

    Friday 6 May 2005
  • More bridge hype - More lobbying for a new bridge - Daily Post - "Support for new bridge"   Liverpool Echo - "Support for new bridge". Yet again there is no mention of Tolls or the plan to reduce the existing bridge from four lanes to two. and yet again, the road users seem to be ignorant of the plans.

    Friday 8 April 2005
  • Tolls whoever wins election - Andy Kelly today looked at how the issue of Transport may affect the General Election - Daily Post - "Road and rail not a vote winner". He says "the two crucial transport issues on Merseyside - if you assume tolls in the Mersey tunnels aren't suddenly going to go away - are the funding for Merseytram and the go-ahead for a Second Mersey Crossing between Runcorn and Widnes....The second bridge campaigners were dealt a major blow when the Government failed to make a major commitment to the scheme before the election was called. They remain hopeful and, with private sector finance and tolling a likely part of any new bridge, it is likely it could be just as acceptable to a Conservative as a Labour administration.".

    Tuesday 5 April 2005
  • "New Bridge Decision Delayed Again" Again - Go ahead, for the new crossing of the Mersey, has been postponed again. It was originally expected December 2003, then by December 2004, and then almost any day since! BBC - "Mersey bridge decision postponed". The Government have probably put off an announcement, because they do not wish to highlight their tolling plans till after the General Election.

    Thursday 24 March 2005
  • "Sky high" jaunt and Cheshire Cat out of the bag - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News - "Hopes sky-high for new bridge"   Weekly News - "Bridge decision 'in two weeks'"
    The second report says it "would cost the Department for Transport £200m with tolling over a 30-year period" Has someone has let the cat out of the bag?

    Monday 21 March 2005
  • Bridge decision "in two weeks" - Daily Post - "New Mersey crossing may be given go-ahead soon"
    The Daily Post editorial is headed "Mersey bridge go-ahead vital". It says that "At the moment, around 24 miles of the Mersey estuary are served by just the one crossing.". 24 miles is the distance from the mouth of the Mersey to the bridge at Warrington so it seems that the Tunnels and rail bridge and rail tunnel don't exist. Does the Daily Post Editor never leave the office?

    Wednesday 16 March 2005
  • Bridge campaign offers free plane rides and a "champagne breakfast" - Daily Post - "Bridge campaigners take to skies for bird's eye view".

    Monday 14 February 2005
  • Road leading to Runcorn Bridge the 7th most dangerous in Britain - Part of the ring road around Runcorn - A533 Runcorn - A56 (3.5km) , a route to the existing and proposed Runcorn bridges - is the 7th most dangerous road in Britain. This is according to the European Road Assessment Programme which has graded more than 800 major UK roads. We wonder what this means for the location of the planned new bridge at Runcorn?

    Monday 10 January 2005
  • Mersey Barrage - Someone from Walton had a letter in the Liverpool Echo. He suggests that instead of building a new bridge the far side of Runcorn, they should build a barrage with a road on closer to Liverpool. He reckons that it could generate electricity, and that would pay for it. Certainly sounds better than tolls! Daily Post letter - "Mersey barrage "

    Thursday 9 December 2004
  • Countdown to Disaster day - Daily Post - "Countdown to D-Day for £335m bid for second Mersey crossing"   Weekly News -"For whom the bridge tolls".
    The Liverpool Echo also had a report - "Minister Backs Mersey Bridge" which has disappeared from their site. It mentioned tolls on the new bridge, but not the existing one.
    The MTUA sent out this press release:- .... "We are horrified that instead of improving movement between the 2 sides of the Mersey they will stifle it though tolls."

    "If a new bridge is privately financed and managed then there will be only 2 gainers. One will be the private company that will collect the tolls. The other will be the Government who will have avoided spending a bit more of the road users money on what it should be spent on - the roads."

    "The cost of this so called "Second" crossing seems way over the top. The original Engineer's estimate said that it would cost just over £200 million, but we are now being quoted figures up to £750 million."

    "The cost of building the existing bridge was mainly met by the Government with the balance being met by Lancashire and Cheshire County Councils. Why should road users now have to pay a toll to use this? That is if they can get across when they close half of it off."

    "The original economic case for a new bridge was made on the basis that it would not be tolled. When a road is tolled, there is less benefit as less people will use it. So is a new bridge still justified?"

    "The tolls will encourage more traffic to use the Warrington bridges or Thelwell viaduct. Are they next to be tolled?"

    "The MTUA urge all Merseysiders to make it clear to the local politicians that they do not want tolls."
    Thursday 2 December 2004
  • Forum of Private Business does not want tolls - FPB rejects fixed toll on Runcorn-Widnes Bridges. The Forum is based in Knutsford and represents around 25,000 businesses, employing a total of over 600,000 people.

    Wednesday 1 December 2004
  • The hype goes on - It now looks as if a decision will be further delayed - Liverpool Echo - "Traffic chaos looms without new crossing"
    According to the news release on the official site, tolling is being recommended by Halton Council - Mersey "Gateway" News Release 30 November
    The recommendation for tolling is not a surprise, as to a large extent those supporting a new bridge are the same people who have wanted higher Tunnels tolls. Halton's recommendation says that there should be "a substantial discount for local cars and light vehicles, and a frequent user discount for HGVs, both of which should keep the cost of crossing the bridge as low as possible for local users." None of this applies to the Mersey Tunnels, which shows tht the trolls will say anything if it helps to keep people sedated.

    Tuesday 30 November 2004
  • Cat out of the Bag - "Tolls Vital In Bridge Plan" - The Liverpool Echo had a big report which is no longer on their website. It said that further reports had been submitted to the Government and that "new Mersey crossing will have to charge tolls". Derek Twigg MP said that "the most cricial things are to get the bridge built and to win toll-free concessions for local people". There is no mention of tolls on the existing bridge.

    Friday 5 November 2004
  • Threat - Daily Post - "Bridge chaos firms could quit Mersey"
    The editorial backs the demands for the bridge and says "efficient road communications are the lifeblood of a thriving local economy". Odd (and suspicious) that the people saying this are the same ones doing their best to stifle traffic between Liverpool and the Wirral at the west end of the Mersey. Also odd that these trolls apparently don't know that the Tunnels currently only carry the same amount of traffic as the bridge but have twice as many lanes.

    Thursday 9 September 2004
  • Bosses back bridge and compare it with M6 toll road - Liverpool Echo - "CBI backs second bridge".

    Wednesday 8 September 2004
  • National Boycott of Tolls Day - Part of what Dave Loudon, Chairman of the Mersey Tunnels Users Association said:-
    "There is a very strong argument being put forward for a second Runcorn Bridge. But there is also a very significant risk that if the Government approve it they will want that crossing tolled, like the Mersey tunnels. If that happens it will be a huge blow to the economy of the North West and further divide our region. And if the Runcorn Bridge is tolled traffic will be forced onto Thelwall viaduct and that will add to congestion and fuel consumption because of the extra miles travelled by drivers avoiding the toll."

    Thursday 2 September 2004
  • FPB back a new bridge - Liverpool Echo - "Lobby group gets behind campaign for new bridge".

    Tuesday 24 August 2004
  • "A new crossing will make fantastic savings" - Liverpool Echo - "Second bridge vital for local firms".

    Thursday 22 July 2004
  • Council still claiming that there won't be tolls - Weekly News - "Bridge fee could be death toll for firms".

    Wednesday 12 May 2004
  • "Soon" - Liverpool Echo - "£335m new Mersey bridge set to get go-ahead soon".

    Tuesday 11 May 2004
  • Talking shop - There was a debate in the Commons about the proposed new bridge at Runcorn. It is bizarre to see some of the MPs, who have been campaigning so hard for increases in Mersey Tunnel tolls, now want to see a new bridge at Runcorn. Even odder is that it seems that they want the new bridge to be free! Adjournment Debate.

    Friday 23 April 2004
  • "Unlikely to be ready for Capital of Culture Year" - Liverpool Echo - "Mersey bridge 'delay'".

    Friday 9 April 2004
  • "The case for the new Mersey crossing has been made" - Liverpool Echo - "Making business connections".

    Friday 20 February 2004
  • Completing Toll barrier between the two sides of the Mersey - Revealed that Mersey Tunnels bosses have been offering advice on tolling of the proposed new Runcorn Bridge - Liverpool Echo - "Toll plan for new crossing".

    Saturday 20 December 2003
  • "Final step nearer" - The Daily Post had another big report which is no longer on their website. The Government had been expected to announce this month a decision on the proposed new crossing. Instead late on Thursday they declared it a "super work in progress" (a name that they invented for this scheme). They called for further "studies" before they made a decision. there was no mention of tolls,

    Monday 1 December 2003
  • "Is this a bridge too far?" - The Liverpool Echo had another big report which is no longer on their website. There is no mention of tolls. Peter Stoney from Liverpool University who had carried out extensive research said that "The route which would provide the best economic benefits would be on the western side, spanning the Mersey from the end of the Knowsley Expressway to the M56 at Frodsham".

    Wednesday 29 October 2003
  • "A Bridge too Far?" - The Wirral Globe had a big report which is no longer on their website. It said that "there are no plans for tolls". The Labour Leader of Wirral Council said that if it was not tolled, then he would complain to the Government. Merseytravel said "We do not expect to see the ferries or the tunnels being affected by this new bridge", so they must have been in on any secret tolls plan.

    Monday 27 October 2003
  • "Second Mersey Bridge On Track" - The Liverpool Echo had another big report which is no longer on their website. It said that "A new double-decker Mersey bridge at Runcorn is ready to be approved by transport secretary Alistair Darling". The cost of the bridge is now given as "£350m" but there is no indication of what happened to the £200m figure. The main concern believe it or not was said to be that the "bridge could threaten the region's historic ferries and tunnels". Those backing the bridge includes the Merseytravel boss. There was no mention of tolls in the story, but it seems that Merseytravel and others knew that the bridges would be tolled - so not much of a threat!

    Sunday 26 October 2003
  • "Mersey ferries face a new rival" - Sunday Times - "Double bridge to put Mersey ferries in shade".

    Friday 10 October 2003
  • "Minister Briefed on Mersey Bridge Plan" - The Liverpool Echo had another big report which is no longer on their website. The Transport Minister (Tony McNulty) was supposed to be in Halton to launch "a new council package to teach youngsters about the dangers of vandalising public transport", but the visit was used as a chance to plug the bridge scheme. There was no mention of tolls.

    Monday 8 September 2003
  • Waiting for a Government decision - Liverpool Echo - "Campaign on bridge".

    Thursday 22 May 2003
  • What's lurking in the dark - Runcorn Weekly News - "Strong support for Mersey bridge proposals".

    Saturday 17 May 2003
  • "Toll Question Over New River Crossing" - The Liverpool Echo had another big report which is no longer on their website. It was similar to the Weekly News story on the 22nd and followed an "update" given on the 16th to "Leading Merseyside figures" including Derek Twigg MP and Peter Kilfoyle MP. The Halton Council Leader said that the new bridge might be tolled "but then you would have to toll the old bridge too.".

    Wednesday 9 April 2003
  • "Double Deck Bridge Plan" - The Liverpool Echo had another big report which is no longer on their website. It said that the day before, Halton Council had picked option "3a" which was to cost £209 million and was the most expensive of the four options that they considered. The bridge had a lower level to carry trams. The story ended "A funding application will be submitted to the government in July followed by a planning application. A decision is expected in Decemner, followed by a public inquiry next year. Building work could begin in 2005 with an opening planned for 2007.".

    Monday 30 December 2002
  • New bridge by 2007 - Liverpool Echo - "£150m bridge across the Mersey".

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