URS and Flint & Neill sign off on Mersey Gateway deal

Announcement in the budget of £270M of Government funding to underwrite the costs of the new Mersey Gateway bridge means design and construction of the PFI scheme can hit top speed.

Flint & Neill and URS are designing the Mersey Gateway crossing

The crossing’s designer, a Flint & Neill and URS joint venture (DJV) was this week formally appointed to deliver detailed design consultancy services for the project. This follows client Halton Borough Council reaching financial close with the Merseylink consortium which has been awarded a 30 year contract to design, build, finance and operate the scheme.

The bridge is a post-tensioned concrete box supported on a single line of central stays.  Elegant mono towers form the iconic features of the crossing with a shorter central tower being dictated by the restrictions on span arrangements across the estuary.

 The Mersey Gateway bridge project links Liverpool, north Cheshire and the North West to the rest of the country via a new 2.3km, six lane toll crossing of the Mersey.  It will relieve traffic on the existing Silver Jubilee bridge which is currently used by ten times the number of vehicles it was originally designed for. The scheme also includes 7km of new roads, two major junctions on either side of the bridge and improvements to the existing road network as well as the application of smart motorway technology. Construction cost is quoted as £590M.

Flint & Neill and URS have been appointed by the contractor joint venture of Samsung C&T Corporation, Kier Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd and FCC Construction SA. The design joint venture began detailed design in May last year as the start of the preferred bidder phase at the end of a competitive dialogue period. Two Spanish consultants are also part of the design joint venture: Fhecor is supporting Flint & Neill which is leading on bridge design and Epitsa is supporting URS which is leading on all landside works.

Project director for the DJV David MacKenzie said: “The advent of financial close is a significant milestone in the delivery of this project. The teams have worked together since the first days of the tender to prove a design that brings significant benefits to the region both in terms of reduced journey times and reduced congestion.”

Collaboration between contractors and designers has been key, according to URS operations director Darren Kimberley. “Through bringing our constructability and engineering design expertise to the project, together with the wider consortium, we are helping create a lasting legacy for the north west.”

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