• Author:Ben Jones
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Runcorn and Widnes World; Boost for Bridge plan

HOPES for a second crossing of the Mersey to link Widnes and Runcorn have been given a crucial boost this week according to Labour leaders.

But transport secretary Andrew Adonis’ public announcement of Government backing for the multi-million pound scheme has been dubbed ‘electioneering’ by the Conservatives.

In a letter to Labour candidate Derek Twigg, seen by the World, Lord Adonis says Labour is ‘committed’ to the Mersey Gateway scheme which could bring thousands of jobs to the area both in building a second bridge and in economic benefits aftewards.

Mr Twigg said: “This is wonderful news for Halton and the north west.

“The Mersey Gateway will free up the road network and bring more jobs and investment to the area.

“It is vital for this area to elect a Labour Government to ensure this comes about.”

Outgoing council leader Clr Tony McDermott termed the message an ‘important milestone’.

The Government is still to announced the results of a public inquiry held earlier this year.

But Steve Nicholson, project director for the Mersey Gateway, said work is still required.

He added: “It is important for all the any decision is supported by documentation that is beyond legal challenge and the time taken to ensure this is achieved is well spent.”

But Ben Jones, Conservative candidate for the Halton seat, said he was pleased with the announcement but that it amounted to little more than electioneering.

He added:”The Labour Government spent 13 years not investing in major transport projects “We hope this is a genuine commitment and it is a shame he (Lord Adonis) has not supported this plan in Parliament.

“It is blatant electioneering.”

He said the project was a vital one for the area and said the Conservatives would look to move it forward as soon as possible should they be elected.

But he said he could give no commitment without seeing the books.