Mersey Gateway Bridge

Project Overview

The project has a capital value of £600m. Its centrepiece is the construction of a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey. Tolls will be collected through a free flow open road tolling system, one of the first to be implemented in the UK.

The project will be one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in the UK over the coming years. It is expected to bring major economic, transport and social benefits to the region including 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs.

The Mersey Gateway Bridge was identified as one of the UK Government’s Top 40 priority projects in the National Infrastructure Plan because of its scale, complexity and the unusual way in which it is being delivered with over 70% of funding coming from tolls (the remainder from DfT grants).

On 28 March 2014, the project successfully reached financial close on time and under budget, resulting in procurement savings to the public sector of £250m.

Rock’s role as Halton Borough Council’s development partner

Rock has worked with Halton Borough Council as its development partner for the project. Mark Swindell has been the project’s Commercial Director and Matthew Allen has led the commercial team.

Rock’s main roles on this project included:

• Devising an innovative procurement strategy that has resulted in the best value for money design, build, finance and operate contract for the new crossing and also delivered for Halton Borough Council a separate partnering agreement with an experienced toll operator who will manage all of the risks associated with collecting toll revenues in an open road (no barrier) toll system and develop and implement a strategy to optimise revenues from tolls on behalf of the council;

• Negotiating funding terms with the Department for Transport and seeking clearance through HM Treasury’s Treasury Approval Point process;

• Playing a leading role in discussions with central government regarding the use by the project of the IUK Guarantees Scheme and facilitating the introduction of this scheme into the procurement. The project is the first use of this scheme on a PPP infrastructure project;

• Creating a long-term governance structure for the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, the arm’s length subsidiary of Halton Borough Council that will manage the project on the council’s behalf;

• Acting as principal in all commercial, legal and financial negotiations with bidders during the project’s competitive dialogue phase and with the Merseylink consortium following its appointment as the project’s preferred bidder; and

• Managing the project’s financial, legal, tolling and insurance advisors.

Mersey Gateway Bridge