THIS is the news many motorists have been waiting for.

Warrington Borough Council and Peel Ports have launched a new alert system to give motorists advanced warning of when the swing bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal will be closed to traffic.

A twitter profile and Facebook page have been set up to provide warnings 25 to 30 minutes before the swing bridges are due to open.

The launch of the new system comes after the Warrington Guardian revealed in January that Peel Ports was expecting 720 vessels to sail through Warrington this year, with around 124 of these sailing between peak periods, causing a year of long delays and disruptions for motorists.

Clr Linda Dirir, executive board member for highways, transportation and climate change, said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the congestion caused by the swing bridges and are working in partnership with Peel to come up with solutions that will benefit our residents and motorists who travel here.

“Informing road users in advance of bring swings means that they are able to make an informed decision as to either changing departure time to avoid the swing or use an alternative route.

“By reducing the number of vehicles using the three roads that cross the Manchester Ship Canal when a bridge swing is imminent will not only reduce congestion, but helps the environment by the reduction of harmful gases being emitted from standing vehicles.

“We listened to the concerns of residents and have done everything in our power to ease the situation and want to give the travelling public as much information as possible to allow them to plan their journeys.”

The council intends to develop the system further so that people can be alerted of bridge swings via e-mail and through the use of existing variable message signs which are located at key decision points on the highway, enabling drivers to alter their journey if they wished to.

The council will provide updates on these future developments as they progress. 

Electronic swing bridge warning signs can also be viewed en route to the swing bridges in Latchford, Stockton Heath and Walton.

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