AS lockdown eases its reigns Mersey Gateway Bridge traffic levels have continued to rise with car journeys showing almost 45 percent increase compared to the first week of May.

Traffic has now risen to just over half that of the typical pre-lockdown number of vehicles flowing across the bridge between Runcorn and Widnes.

Last week was the busiest for traffic across the Mersey Gateway since lockdown began in March with over 260,000 (264,734) vehicles having crossed the bridge.

Traffic levels are now starting to rise across all vehicle classes, though the new figures shared by bridge operator Merseyflow do show how traffic patterns have varied across different vehicle types over lockdown.

• Halton residents, Blue Badge holders and registered customers are all making more frequent journeys as lockdown eases.

• Motorcyclists have taken advantage of the lockdown easing and better weather, with the past week showing the highest number of motorcyclists crossing the bridge in a single week for several months.

• The number of PCNs issued reduced significantly and payment on time rates remained high at almost 98 percent during May.

• A growing percentage of people paying for their journeys using the Merseyflow quick pay app, which has now been downloaded over 26,000 times since November last year.

The quietest week was week commencing Monday, April 6 when just 154,000 vehicles crossed the Mersey, compared to a typical pre-lockdown average of almost 500,000 journeys.

Neil Conway, Chief Executive of Merseyflow, said: “These figures show that things are moving to a ‘new normal’ in terms of traffic flow as the lockdown gradually eases. However, it is clear that people who are able to work from home are still taking the Government’s advice and staying put and we are some way off traffic levels returning to their pre-lockdown levels.”

Mike Bennett, Managing Director of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, added: “I think these figures reflect the relaxing of lockdown, and we expect the traffic levels to continue rising throughout June. It shows how the changing message from Government since 26th May has certainly had an impact on traffic activity levels here in the north west, with many more returning to their places of work and some schools starting to re-open their doors.”