Commuter services on Mersey Ferries between Liverpool and Birkenhead will switch to a different terminal while the work is being carried out. Tony McDonough reports
Seacombe ferry terminal on the Mersey is to close for several months from Christmas with the Mersey Ferries commuter services switching to Woodside terminal.
The works will see the linkspan bridges, which are over 130 years old and coming to the end of their operational life, replaced and the landing stage undergo a major refurbishment, including upgrading the mooring bollards and installing new powered gangways.
It will also see the removal of the pontoon to carry out the works. This should allow the stage to operate for another 25 years before any major maintenance intervention is needed.
On a normal weekday, Mersey Ferries operates a morning and evening rush-hour service between the Pier Head in Liverpool and Seacombe in Wirral. The hour-long river cruises, which normally call at all three terminals, are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the duration of the works the two vessels – Royal Iris and Snowdrop – will not be able to berth at Seacombe ferry terminal. Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will use this opportunity to carry out other maintenance requirements in the terminal itself and work with the Eureka Mersey! children’s museum to prepare for their works planned in and around this site.
Mersey Ferry commuters will still be able to travel cross-river as services will be running between the Pier Head and Woodside, Birkenhead for the duration of the works. Cross river services will also operate during the day.
Ferry services will be suspended after the final commuter services on Friday, December 18. They will resume at Woodside from the first commuter service on Monday, January 4, 2021. The works are due to be completed in summer 2021.
The same timetable as is currently used at Seacombe will apply to commuter services at Woodside. Commuters who pay for weekly, monthly and yearly passes will also still benefit from free parking at Woodside.
The move to Woodside will also coincide with the re-opening of the U-Boat Story museum to the public, having been closed since the initial COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.
Cllr Liam Robinson, transport portfolio holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “The Mersey Ferries are an iconic and important part of our cultural identity in the city region. We know that coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on everyday life, but we are committed to continuing to invest in the ferries for the future.
“These works at Seacombe are vital to make sure the ferries can continue to operate from there for many years to come. We’ve been able to make sure that ferry users will still be able to travel across the river by diverting services to Woodside.”