Bridge project will now go ahead after over 20 years of planning and financial struggles

Mersey Gateway bridge

Construction and technology firms Kier, FCC Construcción and Samsung have reached financial close on their deal with Halton Borough council to build the £450m Mersey Gateway bridge.

The consortium, known as Merseylink, will start construction immediately and operate the bridge for the next thirty years.

The consortium is backed by equity partners Macquarie Capital Group Limited, Bilfinger Project Investments Europe Limited, and FCC Construcción.

Haydn Mursell, group finance director of Kier, said: he was “proud” kier was investing in this “landmark” infrastructure project.  

He added: “We have worked closely with Halton Borough council over recent months to reach this position and we look forward to delivering the project with them over the coming years.”

Steve Nicholson, interim chief executive of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and the project director leading up to financial close, said: “When we set out our procurement approach three years ago we deliberately chose a strategy that would allow our potential private sector partners to innovate, save money for the public purse and add value to the project. Merseylink has delivered on all three fronts.”

Merseylink was first appointed as preferred bidder for the project last June.

Merseylink has already let £10m of contracts to work on the project including demolition work, building access roads and constructing temporary bridges to build the foundations.

The bridge is set to open in autumn 2017.

Richard Threlfall, head of infrastructure, building and construction at consultant KPMG, said today’s announcement was “a big deal” for all concerned.

He added: “The Mersey Gateway project shows the many challenges infrastructure projects of that size face in the UK. It  has taken more than 20 years from when the need for the bridge was first identified to where we are today, about to start construction.

“But it is also testimony to the determination and leadership of Halton Borough Council that the project has survived through the financial crisis, a change of government and numerous changes in policy. In the end the project has happened with support from the very top of government working in partnership with one of the smallest local authorities in the country.”