The Crown Estate has agreed a long lease with Halton Council for a section of shoreline on the River Mersey for the £600 million Mersey Gateway bridge.

The deal is a one-off payment valued at £800,000.

The six-lane tolled crossing is designed to improve links between Runcorn and Widnes, easing congestion on the existing Silver Jubilee bridge.

It will be the biggest civil engineering feat of engineering in the country employing more than 500 people, and creating nearly 4,640 new jobs.

It is being built by the Merseylink consortium, which includes Kier, FCC, Bilfinger, Samsung CT and Macquarie.

Merseylink was awarded the contract to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the bridge in June 2013.

Construction is expected to take three-and-a-half years.

Malcolm Burns, rural and coastal portfolio manager for Wales and West at the Crown Estate said: "This lease agreement will help to facilitate one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the UK, which, once constructed, has the potential to provide major benefits to the local economy.

“This is another example of how we actively manage our assets to enhance the value of our portfolio, delivering a range of benefits that go beyond the commercial returns we generate for the nation's finances."

Halton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill said: "Assembling the land for our Mersey Gateway project has been a challenging undertaking but we have delivered it on time and within budget.

The Crown Estate team played an important part in helping the council obtain the necessary rights and authorities to construct the new bridge in the Mersey Estuary over Crown Estate land The foreshore and river bed to the mid-point of the River Mersey is owned by the Crown Estate.

Steve Nicholson, chief executive at the Mersey Crossings Board said: “Assembling land for major infrastructure projects like Mersey Gateway, which includes The Crown Estate, presents a procedural challenge for promoters.

“We were pleased with the constructive support we received from The Crown Estate team that recognised the public interest in delivering this priority project.”