Halton Borough Council
A private consortium signs on to build new Silver Jubilee Bridge.
Halton Borough Council

Construction on the U.K.’s roughly $800-million, privately-financed cable-stayed Silver Jubilee bridge over the River Mersey, 20 kilometers east of Liverpool, is set to start next month following the March 29  signing of all key contracts.

Procured under a 30-year design-build-finance-operate contract, the 1.5-km-long crossing between Widnes and Runcorn is due to open in late 2017.

“We’ve already started our work to engage with the local supply chain and potential employees,” reports Stephen Cardwell, project director for the Merseylink Construction Joint Venture.

The JV includes U.K. contractor Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd., South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A., Spain. The French toll road operator Sanef S.A. will handle the bridge’s toll operations.

The construction and operations joint venture forms part of the Merseylink consortium that closed the bridge deal with Halton Borough Council, the project’s developer.

Merseylink’s financial co-owners are providing their own equity plus commercial bank loans. Australian bank Macquarie Capital Group Ltd., Germany’s Bilfinger Project Investments Europe Ltd., and FCC Construcción are the consortium’s financial members.

Raising the finance was made easier by the U.K. government’s commitment, confirmed earlier this month, to guarantee $500 million of the senior bank debt.