Mersey Bridge
Widnes, England
Award of Merit

Owner Mersey Gateway
Lead Design Firm Samsung
General Contractor Merseylink Civil Contractors
Civil and Structural Engineer FCC Construcción

More than 70,000 vehicles a day cross the broad Mersey estuary on four cable-stayed spans of the U.K.’s newest major bridge, which opened late last year approximately 20 kilometers east of Liverpool. The Mersey Gateway bridge forms the centerpiece of a 2.2-km-long viaduct diverting traffic from an overused steel arch crossing 1.5 km downstream. To avoid disrupting meandering streams in the environmentally sensitive estuary mudflats, the new bridge has four unequal cable-stayed spans ranging from 181 meters to 381 m long.

After nearly a decade’s development work, Halton Borough Council signed in 2014 a 30-year design, build, finance and operate contract with the three firm Merseylink consortium. The group comprises FCC Construction S.A. and two private investors that contributed 70% of the $830-million project cost, according to FCC.

From north to south, the bridge’s pylons stand 110 m, 80 m and 125 m tall. Nearly 1,300 km of cable stays fan down from these pylons in lengths from 41 m to 226 m. To cast the main bridge’s trapezoidal prestressed-concrete box-girder decks, the contractor deployed six gantries, working out from pylons to form balanced cantilevers. Despite working on multiple structures and over water, the contractors recorded no fatal or serious accidents. The consortium also strove to protect the river environment using biodiversity monitoring and management. Among claimed environmental gains are increased populations of birds and other estuarial species.

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