ICONIC, world-class and revolutionary.

That's how the £390 million Mersey Gateway was unveiled on a momentous day' for Halton this week as complex legal orders and plans were completed, paving the way for thousands of jobs and regeneration opportunities to be created.

As tolls were announced for both the new and existing bridges, residents were given a cast iron guarantee they would receive concessions.

Council leader, Cllr Tony McDermott said: "I absolutely promise there will be a discount scheme for local people.

"The toll local people will pay will be less than it costs to cross the bridge on a bus.

"We want to make sure the burden for the bridge is paid by the traffic that goes through and causes environmental problems.

"Residents who have a hospital on one side and shops on the other, or criss cross, working one side and living on the other, shouldn't be penalised."

Only 20 per cent of the 15 million motorists who cross the bridge every year head for Halton.

Delays, accidents and sever weather on the region's road network cause bridge gridlock.

"Doing nothing is not an option," stressed Cllr McDermott.

"In 10-15 years, you will spend most of the day sitting on the bridge trying to get across.

"Surely it would be better to pay 50p or £1 and whizz across the bridge and have that reliability.

"This new crossing is an aspiration we've had for more than 12 years."

Tolls are likely to be similar to the Mersey Tunnels. Discounts will be offered for 30 years, using £123 million of Public Finance Initiative credits.

Surplus revenue will be returned to Halton Council to reinvest in discount schemes and public transport.

Chief executive David Parr is confident the six lane Mersey Gateway, set to open in 2014, will act as a catalyst.

He said: "This is about creating jobs. We want to encourage people to travel more easily.

"The Governent has made it clear that we must do it in a tolled manner. There will be a discount for local people and frequent users."

A public inquiry is expected later this year.

International engineers are already keen to bid for tenders. Construction will begin in 2011, if approved.