Road users in the Warrington have benefited from a drop of almost two thirds in the number of swing bridge openings at peak times following an agreement the Council forged with the canal operators.
Frequent ship canal swings bridge openings at peak times have been shown to have a detrimental impact on Warrington’s highway network.
Warrington Borough Council has been working closely with Peel Ports to minimise the number of bridge swings during the busiest morning and evening rush hours, and for more ships to come through at night. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two Parties in May 2014, committing them to key actions to reduce the impact of bridge swings on Warrington’s network. Under the agreement Peel will coordinate bridge swings so the number of vessels passing through Warrington during the peak periods remains at, or below 100 swings per year.
The latest figures show the agreement is having a positive impact already, as in the first quarter of 2015 there were only 11 peak time swing bridge openings, a drop of around two thirds from the same period in both 2014 and 2013. Analysis of bridge openings in the peak across the whole of 2014 compared to 2013 show a significant reduction in the number of swings from 116 to 72, representing just 12.7% of total swing bridge opening, compared to 16% in 2013.
Councillor Hans Mundry, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transportation and Public Realm said: “We are committed to reducing the impact of swing bridge openings on local traffic, and drivers in the borough are already benefiting from the agreement, with a marked reduction already in the number of swing bridge openings during the rush hour. We will continue with our regular monitoring of bridge swings and ensure that the number that happen in the morning and evening rush hours is kept below 100 per year, as agreed with Peel.”
The agreement also commits Peel to suspend the toll at Warburton high level bridge to allow the free passage of vehicles in extreme circumstances, such as a serious incident on the motorway network or severe weather conditions which cause a closure of the Thelwall Viaduct. Since the signing of the agreement there have already been two occasions where this has happened.