Due to the closure of the Silver Jubilee Bridge for redevelopment, Arriva North West is providing a Cross River service for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the River Mersey.
The new £600 million Mersey Gateway bridge, which opened on October 14th 2017, provides much needed extra capacity between Widnes and Runcorn. The opening of the new bridge has allowed the older Silver Jubilee bridge, which opened in 1961, to be temporarily closed on a part time basis for between twelve and eighteen months.
It is intended to redesign the bridge for use by local traffic, cyclists and pedestrians, with the remaining traffic using the new bridge. When the Silver Jubilee bridge is re-opened after its refurbishment, it will also be tolled.
As pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooter users would have been unable to cross the River Mersey on weekdays until then, a free shuttle bus service has been provided by Arriva North West to enable them to travel across the river, albeit via the new Mersey Gateway crossing.
The shuttle service will operate on weekdays only, commencing at 7:30 am and concluding at 4:30 pm, with the pick up and drop off locations being Waterloo Road in Widnes and Doctors Bridge in Runcorn.
A pair of Wrightbus Cadet bodied VDL SB120LFs, which are based at Runcorn depot, have been down seated and fitted with bicycle racks specifically for the service. For readers who are interested, the two Wrightbus Cadets are registered DK55 FXT (2530) and DK55 FYL (2546).
Councillor Stan Hill, Executive Board Member for Transportation said: “It had always been our intention to keep the footpath/cycleway open during the refurbishment. But the safety of the public must be our priority and having considered all options and taken advice from Health and Safety experts, we must regrettably restrict access while works take place.”
“We know many local people use the footpath/cycleway to get to work and for leisure, that is why we have put in place a free shuttle bus service so that the disruption to pedestrians and cyclists is kept to a minimum.”
To coincide with a network review in the area, Arriva’s commercial routes across the old bridge (services 79C, 82A, 110 and Sapphire X1) were diverted via the new crossing, with a route alterations made on the Runcorn side of the River Mersey.
As it was prior to the review, Runcorn Old Town is still served by the four aforementioned services, but the 82A no longer calls at Runcorn railway station. The X1 will continue to call at Runcorn East station. For further information about the new Mersey Gateway crossing, please visit the following link.