The UK Department of Transportation has approved up to £470m of funding for a new gateway bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.

The dual three-lane bridge and associated link roads are expected to improve links between the Liverpool City region, north Cheshire and the wider North West to the rest of the country.

The new bridge will also ease traffic congestion experienced by the Silver Jubilee Bridge commuters, reducing journey times by up to 10 minutes at peak hours.

The Department for Transport will support the £600m construction project with grant and revenue funding for the bridge’s continued operation.

The construction is expected to commence in 2013, and the bridge will be open for traffic in 2016.