The case for funding a new Winnington Bridge to tackle the congestion and problems caused by the current one- way crossing has been made to Government.
Tatton MP Esther McVey urged ministers to back the scheme as part of its levelling up agenda, as she led a debate in Parliament on the issue.
She said the bridge built in 1908 cannot deal with capacity and with more housing and businesses planned for the area, action was needed.
Ms McVey said: “If Government is truly determined to deliver the levelling up agenda to all parts of the country, then there can be no better place to invest and deliver than Winnington Bridge. The opening of this corridor would change the daily lives of those in Anderton, Barton and surrounding areas.
“The increase in cars on the road and commuters moving into new housing will worsen the already long queues and increase emissions. My constituents are worried and rightly so, about further developments and housing without this piece of infrastructure.”
The bridge has needed replacing for many years and been identified as the “single most important piece of transport infrastructure” for the area by Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ms McVey told the debate.
The proposed project would see the current single track bridge changed to a cycle and pedestrian bridge and a new two way bridge built alongside it with three junction improvements between the bridge and Northwich town centre to create a corridor scheme. It would fully address the congestion issues and create a cycle link from Barnton and Anderton through to Northwich town centre amenities and national cycle network route 5, thereby serving the residents of the villages of Barnton, Anderton with Marbury, Comberbach and Little Leigh, she said.
Ms McVey said as well as tackling congestion, a new bridge would bring investment into the area with an extra £16 million a year for Northwich through money being spent in local shops, together with 300 new jobs long term, and an additional 2,000 during the construction phase. In addition, building a new bridge would end the constant repairs and expenditure on the current bridge.
She said: “So bad is the annual wear and tear of the bridge that approximately £1-2 million is spent on it every five years to retain it in current use.”
Essential maintenance two years ago also cost an additional £980,000.
Levelling Up Minister Eddie Hughes praised Ms McVey for her “tireless work” in campaigning on local issues.
He added: “It is clear from her speech that she deeply understands the rich history and present needs of the community in Tatton. Her continued interest and engagement in representing the needs of her constituents, which is exemplified through her numerous written questions and debates in Parliament, is nothing short of remarkable.
“We (Government)recognise that community pride, such as that in Winnington bridge, is incredibly important. That is why the levelling-up fund is focused on regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport and investing in cultural and heritage assets.”
Bids for the latest round of the current funding were due to be submitted by July 6 but have been extended for a short period.
The Minister's response can be seen here: https://youtu.be/i_Js0V-8ihU