THREE options are on the table for a new bridge linking Winnington and Barnton – and the bill could rise to more than £20 million.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working with Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership (LEP) to find a long-awaited solution for traffic congestion at the historic Winnington Swing Bridge over the past two years.

A strategic outline business case for a new, movable crossing over the River Weaver has now been completed, with three possible options for taking traffic off the Grade II-listed structure.

Cllr Bob Cernik, Labour CWAC member for Winnington and Castle, told the Guardian: "I am totally committed to the task of improving the infrastructure of Winnington Village.

"We have had a great expansion in housebuilding but we need commensurate facilities to go along with that development.

Urgent repairs were carried out on the bridge last year

Urgent repairs were carried out on the bridge last year

"The stakeholder engagement phase will give ample opportunity for all sides of the argument to be heard and incorporated into a final design."

Two of the three options would see a new lifting bridge be installed adjacent to the existing swing bridge for two-way traffic, with the 111-year-old swing bridge converted into a pedestrian and cycling facility.

One of those two options would also see Winnington Stone Bridge – otherwise known as the Civil War Bridge – converted for pedestrian and cycling use.

The third option would be a wider alignment bridge over both Weaver crossings, adjacent to the existing bridges, for two-way traffic – while the existing bridges would be used for pedestrians and cyclists.

The new crossing is estimated to cost between £14.9 million and £20.7 million, depending on which option is chosen.

Northwich politicians from across the divide have long campaigned for the new crossing

Northwich politicians from across the divide have long campaigned for the new crossing

Meanwhile, improvement works along the A533 would also take place at the Winnington Avenue, Moss Road and Castle Street junctions, at an expected cost of £840,000.

Cllr Cernik says that the third option is considered best value for money in the report, and the project would promote sustainable transport by 'providing a better environment to walk and cycle'.

Residents have long campaigned for a second Weaver crossing to take traffic off the old swing bridge, which had urgent repairs last year.

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A 4,767-strong petition handed to CWAC in December 2017 – while Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, Tatton MP Esther McVey, and both Labour and Conservative councillors have made the case for investment in the area over recent years.

The next stage would be for a full outline business case to be formed including environmental assessments, ground investigation work and an initial consultation period – while further traffic modelling will also take place to consider the impact of new homes in the area and industrial traffic.