Halton’s iconic new Mersey Gateway Bridge opened to traffic this weekend; to time and on budget. The state of the art, six lane, open road toll bridge over the Mersey forms the centrepiece of one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK.
Rock Infrastructure was appointed by Halton Borough Council as its development partner for the Mersey Gateway Project in 2011, providing strategic and structuring expertise and acting as principal in all commercial, legal and financial negotiations. Mark Swindell (Founding Partner Rock Infrastructure) was Commercial Director on the project and Matt Allen (Partner) led the commercial team, working closely with Project Director, Steve Nicholson. Rock devised the innovative procurement strategy delivering savings of £250m and best value for money design, build, finance and operations. In addition, Rock led funding term negotiations with the Department for Transport and HM Treasury, leading to the first use of the IUK Guarantees Scheme on a PPP infrastructure project.
Rock has continued to provide support since financial close in 2014 to the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, the arms-length public sector body that was established to deliver the new crossing. As part of this support, Rock has focused on developing the business that will operate the crossing’s open road tolling collection system. The Mersey Gateway Project covers over nine kilometres of road improvements across Halton, including the bridge and a series of major new junctions running through Runcorn and Widnes. The project has already brought significant money and jobs to the region through the construction phase and is set to deliver huge ongoing economic, transport and social benefits including: over 4,500 new permanent jobs; regional regeneration and inward investment; reduced journey times, congestion & pollution as well as improvements to local public facilities.
David Parr, Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council, said:
“Rock has been instrumental in helping Halton bring the Mersey Gateway to market. Mersey Gateway is a complex and ground-breaking infrastructure project and Rock has been both innovative and effective in addressing a number of challenging areas, ensuring the project is delivered on time and on budget.”
Mark Swindell, Founding Partner of Rock Infrastructure, said:
“Rock was privileged to work with a fantastic team at Halton from the political leaders and CEO of Halton Borough Council to the Mersey Gateway Project Director and lead legal, technical and financial advisers.
“The DfT and Treasury also assisted Halton with this project and the public sector punched above its weight to deliver a smooth innovative procurement process that led to the delivery of an iconic, value for money, public asset for the long-term benefit of the Merseyside community.”
The Mersey Gateway Project was recognised at financial close receiving both PFI’s European Infrastructure Deal of the year and IJ Global’s European Road Deal of the year.