AROUND 9,000 vehicles are using a new £19.89 million river crossing each weekday – with early data showing it is moving traffic away from Bridge Foot.

The Centre Park link road fully opened to traffic in March.

The new road, which aims to cut congestion in the town, gives motorists the option of skipping Bridge Foot.

As part of the scheme, a new bridge across the River Mersey from Chester Road, just north of Gainsborough Road, has been constructed – joining onto an extended Slutchers Lane leading from Wilson Patten Street.

Warrington Borough Council says it is undertaking extensive monitoring of traffic flows on, and in the vicinity of, the new Centre Park link road to assess the impact of the road on the network.

It confirmed that initial findings show an average of 9,000 vehicles are currently using the route each weekday, with initial survey data shows the link road is ‘re-distributing’ traffic away from Bridge Foot.

Officers say coronavirus restrictions have resulted in considerable changes to traffic flows across Warrington over the last 15 months.

A spokesman added: “We are therefore unable to directly compare the impact the new road has had on the network immediately before and after it opened.

“This is due to traffic levels not being directly comparable as, when the link road first opened, schools had only just started to reopen, non-essential shops were still closed and meeting indoors was not permitted.

“Current monitoring data is showing a reduction in traffic on Chester Road, north of the link road, and on Wilson Patten Street, which in turn is leading to reduced traffic flows to Bridge Foot.

“We will continue to monitor traffic on Centre Park link and the surrounding roads.

“When we are confident that traffic levels have stabilised, hopefully later this year following easing of the remaining restrictions, a direct comparison of the data will be undertaken and a full report on the Centre Park link scheme will be produced.”

Warrington South MP Andy Carter has welcomed the new bridge.

He said: “Anyone who has used the new road will know how much easier it is to get from south Warrington to Bank Quay station, avoiding the bottleneck around Bridge Foot.

“This new bridge is a very welcome addition and demonstrates that infrastructure investment will improve journey times and help business productivity as we return to more normal times.

“It’s important the council keep a careful monitor on traffic using Gainsborough Road as patterns of travel change.

“As we recover from the pandemic we need to look carefully at the steps we take to help our town to regenerate.

“Reducing congestion, supporting jobs and investing in infrastructure for the long term will benefit families in the years to come.

“Government are keen to play their part in making Warrington a better place as we’ve seen with the recent award of the £22 million Warrington Town Deal.”