Three plans were submitted today to Halton Borough Council detailing £30m worth of cost saving modifications to the huge bridge project.
These also reduce the impact of the scheme on residents increase construction design flexibility for bidder along the route of the new six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey.
Critically design modifications under consideration for the main bridge between Runcorn and Widnes would not accommodate a future light rail scheme.
If this lower cost plan is adopted the council would use the Silver Jubilee Bridge, rather than the new bridge, for future public transport services, including any future light rail proposals.
The route of the new crossing remains as planned. But the project team would like to increase the design flexibility for contractors who will be responsible for confirming the design of the new bridge taking into account the proposed construction methods.
Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project Director, said: “We are pleased that the feedback we have received endorses our decision to make these changes to the plans, and we believe the detailed proposals that are now with the council will save money and improve the plans as we move forward.”
The proposed modifications to the road layouts on either side of the river will reduce projected traffic levels on local routes around Halton Brow in Runcorn, and remove the need for large toll plazas in Widnes.
The open road tolling system will mean using cameras and modern technology to record vehicle recognition details for the collection of tolls for crossing both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge.
Drivers will still be charged for crossing the river, but the toll plazas that were to have been developed in Widnes will not be built, and traffic will be more free-flowing.