THE huge logistic operation to pave the way for the iconic £600 million Mersey Gateway is taking shape.

Engineers are now building two haul roads on each side of the River Mersey so workers and materials can reach the site.

Both access roads will lead to a temporary wooden trestle bridge which will allow construction traffic to cross the river.

A timetable is being drawn up for work on major junctions along the 10km route.

The Merseylink team responsible for constructing the crossing met West Bank residents at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre to talk about the three and half year programme.

Engineer Chris Meehan said workers are building two clay damns over a canal as they cross salt marshes in West Bank.

The team is constantly liaising with environmental experts to ensure fish and wildlife are not disturbed.

A footpath between Spike Island and Ashley Way and the Alforde Street subway have been closed for safety reasons. Diversions are signposted.

Jill Doyle, Merseylink communications manager said: “We are currently bringing stone into sites on both sides of the river to construct the access road across the salt marshes. While there have been a significant amount of vehicles accessing site we don’t seem to have caused much disruption to our neighbours.

“For West Bank there will undoubtedly be some disruption around Hutchinson Road and Victoria Street when we commence some of the work in Widnes but that will not be until much later in the programme of works.

“We will keep residents and businesses informed throughout the 42 months of construction.”

Merseylink traffic management co-ordinator Duncan Edgar is liaising with Halton Council, highways agencies and utility companies to finalise dates for road closures.

He said a meticulous legal process has to be followed. He said every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum.

Improvements to junction 12 of the M56 are due to start in July and changes to the Bridgewater Expressway junction are expected to begin in October.

For further details, contact the Merseylink project team on 0333 200 1164, e-mail or visit