TOWER Road between Birkenhead and Wallasey has re-opened to motorists after work to replace the lifting bridge over docks came to an end.

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists have faced months of frustration as the project to replace the 'A' Bridge ran into a couple of unavoidable delays.

The bridge reopened on Thursday afternoon.

Cllr Stuart Whittingham, cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: "We know that this day has been a long time coming and that many residents have suffered months of additional inconvenience having to take the diversion routes for longer than was initially anticipated.

"That is why we wanted to just get it open at the earliest possible opportunity - no fanfare or ribbons - we wanted people moving along Tower Road again."

The work was due in January, but was delayed by the discovery of an obstruction behind the dock walls, only uncovered during excavation work.

It meant the permanent foundation for the new ‘A’ bridge had to be moved.

In February the planned 'floating-in’ of the new structure was postponed. The earliest this could be rescheduled with dock owners Peel Ports was April.

Since the bridge was successfully moved into place in April, contractors have been completing the remaining works and putting the structure through a rigorous testing and commissioning process to ensure that the new bridge is operating safely and effectively.

Cllr Whittingham continued: "We can only offer our apologies for the delays.

"On such a complex engineering project, unforeseen issues were always likely, but I am assured that our contractors have done everything they could to address them as quickly and effectively as possible.

"I understand this is of little consolation to the many people who have had to endure longer journey times, but it has been unavoidable."

He added: "One of our most important 2020 pledges is to have a local transport infrastructure that is fit for the future and this project, which has seen both the ‘A’ and 'C' bridges replaced, is a big part of that.

"The new bridges will bring improvements to our road network, not just for motorists but also for cyclists and pedestrians.

"They will help us to grow and develop the local economy, particularly around the Twelve Quays area and the Wirral Waters project.

"The replacement of the two bridges was essential.

"The old bridges had many outdated features, including height and weight restrictions, and were requiring more frequent and costly maintenance works to keep them functioning.

"If the rate of deterioration had been allowed to continue the route would very soon have become completely unsuitable for HGVs."

"With Tower Road now fully open again, we will see that the project – lengthy and frustrating though it has been - will bring long-lasting benefits to the local area, residents and the economy."

Leader of Wirral's Liberal Democrat group Phil Gilchrist said: "There really ought to be an inquest, a no-holds-barred explanation of the problems.

"How much of this should have been anticipated?

"If the cost have over-run, and the sums checked and audited, how much has all this extra work cost?

"Who is picking up the bill?"