Posted on September 19, 2022
PLANS to build a new £50m river crossing have cleared a vital hurdle after council chiefs approved a design, as well as measures to start acquiring the necessary land.
Cheshire West and Chester’s ruling cabinet rubber-stamped the proposals for two new crossings in Winnington at its meeting on Wednesdat. But the council still needs to await a decision by the government on funding before any work can go ahead.
Cheshire West’s cabinet approved an application to the levelling up fund in June and project chiefs have since whittled down six possible schemes to one final design, which would include:
Conversion of the existing Grade II listed Winnington Turn and Stone bridges into cycle/pedestrian only crossings.
Creation of two new road bridges for vehicles – one fixed bridge across the Weaver, and another across the navigation with the ability to lift to allow river access. Both new bridges would also include wide shared use paths to allow access to Runcorn Road.
A new toucan crossing would also be installed to allow access to the Trent and Mersey Canal and Barnton through Nursery Wood.
Campaigners, residents and local politicians have been pushing for a new crossing for many years due to the age of the existing bridges and increased traffic.
Cllr Richard Beacham (cabinet member for Inclusive Economy & Regeneration) told this afternoon’s meeting: “I think what this is about from the local authority point of view is putting our money where our mouth. This the closest that we’ve ever got to having a real solution to these issues in that area.”
But Marbury councillor and Conservative group deputy leader Cllr Lynn Gibbon said that although she welcomed the plans, she had concerns over increased traffic.
She said: “It will be all types of transport not just cars with no mention of mitigation measures with increasing HGV traffic and the impact upon the affected villages.”
In order for any work to be completed on time, even though the government has not yet agreed to funding the project. Following today’s approval work will now be undertaken to start securing the land needed for construction.
If landowners do not sell up, compulsory purchase orders could be enacted as a last resort to force through any sales.
If the Government awards the money and everything goes to plan, the intention is for work to start on July 1, 2024 with construction to be completed on March 24, 2026.