A £19.8 million masterplan labelled as the 'first step' in the development of the town's ambitious waterfront programme is set to edge closer.

The executive board is expected to award the construction contract and approve the funding package for the Centre Park link scheme at its meeting on Monday.

Last month, the project received a huge boost after securing £3.6 million from central Government.

A key part of the council's project is a crossing over the Mersey to connect Chester Road to the town centre, via an extended Slutchers Lane leading from Wilson Patten Street.

There will also be a new 'three-arm' signalised junction with full pedestrian crossing facilities between Chester Road and the bridge, a single carriageway link road connecting the Mersey crossing with the southern end of Slutchers Lane and a 'three-arm' signalised junction with full pedestrian crossing facilities joining up Slutchers Lane and Wilson Patten Street.

The executive board is recommended to accept the £5.3 million of Local Growth Fund money awarded via the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as the £3.6 million from the Government, to pave the way for construction to begin.

Balfour Beatty is set to be given the green light to deliver the scheme at a cost of £13.9 million.

Furthermore, a payment of £327,000 – by Network Rail to the council – is also set to be agreed by members at the Town Hall.

The council needs to enter in to a formal agreement with Network Rail to enable the transfer to the council of the existing Slutchers Lane railway bridge, which is required due to 'the change in classification of that highway brought about by the scheme'.

The money would cover the future inspection and maintenance of the structure for a period of 20 years.

It is proposed that the construction phase will commence this summer, with completion planned for winter 2019.

The finalised estimate shows the project costs could rise to £19.89 million.

As well as aiming to relieve congestion, it will deliver up to 500 homes close to the town centre.

In his report to members, Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for highways, transportation and public realm, said: "The project will provide traffic relief and network resilience for both Brian Bevan and Bridge Foot junctions and the wider highway network consequently to allow further development within these areas, particularly the Southern Gateway.

"This project is the first step in the development of the overall waterfront programme and indicates to our partners that the council is capable of delivering strategic infrastructure aligned to the overall development of Warrington."