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ICE People's Choice Award

Seacombe Ferry Terminal Refurbishment

Wallasey, United Kingdom




16 months




United Kingdom
Project achievements

Used engineering skill

Complex planning and innovative practice to install linkspans within a one-hour slot, based on the tides

Environment benefitted

Working hard to drive down carbon footprint by using local suppliers wherever possible


Preserved structures where possible, respecting the original Victorian design of the Grade II-listed terminal

Securing the long-term viability of an important cultural asset

In a UK-first, the 130-year-old Grade II listed Seacombe Ferry Terminal was refurbished, securing the long-term viability of this important cultural asset.

Seacombe’s ferry terminal has being providing passage across the River Mersey for years, with the first records dating as far back as 1515. Part of the world-famous Mersey Ferry service, it caters for two distinct customers - regular commuters and day-trippers alike.

For the refurbishment, linkspan bridges, which connect land to the ferry, were removed and replaced.

The landing stage benefitted from a major refurbishment, including upgrading the mooring bollards (tie-up points for mooring lines) and installing new powered gangways (or walkways), bringing the structure into compliance with modern standards and ensuring accessibility for all.

The job entailed risky work in active shipping lanes, a coordinated effort around the tidal timetable, and work with assets buried deep at the bottom of the River Mersey.

The improved landing stage is operational and won’t need any further major maintenance for a quarter of a century.

The terminal is ready to serve as an important infrastructure link to the Eureka! Science + Discovery Centre, currently under construction and set to open later this year.

Seacombe Ferry Terminal Refurbishment

Video of the south linkspan installation.

Image courtesy of John Sisk & Son

Seacombe Ferry Terminal Refurbishment

Completed refurbishment of Seacombe Ferry Terminal.

Image courtesy of John Sisk & Son

Seacombe Ferry Terminal Refurbishment

Installation of a new linkspan.

Image courtesy of John Sisk & Son

Seacombe Ferry Terminal Refurbishment

Removal of an old linkspan.

Did you know …

  1. Over £3m of inward investment was secured as part of the project, including a focus on using local suppliers and the creation of local employment opportunities

  2. Each linkspan – which is a type of ferry ramp - weighed 340 tonnes.

  3. With a tidal window of only one hour to complete the work, the two huge linkspans structures were installed on-target first time using an innovative guiding pin.

How was the work done?

The scheme was delivered during the pandemic. This added pressures through shortages of materials, the impact of supply chain staff being furloughed, and slower processes for obtaining the necessary licences and permits.

Managing the programme during the pandemic also meant additional risk management strategies were needed. As part of this, a decision was taken to repair the pontoon in situ, as opposed to the pre-planned dry dock setting.

Despite the challenging conditions, the job was completed incident free, without a single reportable accident.

Sustainability influenced much of the design and construction at Seacombe. Originally it was thought the Victorian restraint booms would need replacing. However, a survey revealed that the cast iron structures were sound and could be retained.

Minimising the use of new materials, the team chose to shotblast, paint and repair the existing booms, only replacing worn parts such as the bearings. A lubrication system was incorporated to reduce any future maintenance.

Modern methods of construction were used, with the new linkspans being prefabricated in factory conditions, assembled at Garston Docks, transported, and then lifted into place.

Difference the project has made

Over a quarter (28.6%) of the site team was recruited locally to supplement Sisk’s delivery team, creating a range of employment opportunities.

Sustainability also informed the scheme’s supply chain selection - 90% of the supply chain partners were from within a 15-mile radius of the site and 100% of the supply chain labour was local. In terms of monetary value, over £3m of social value was created by operating in this way.

Keeping people informed was another important feature. Working tidal shifts and up to 100m out into the River Mersey required wider community engagement.

The project was registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and neighbouring businesses and residents were kept informed of activity through letter drops, particularly for nighttime works.

The site team also spread construction updates far and wide, participating in a Sisk UK-wide ‘Learn Live’ broadcast - a digital channel to support education and careers advice.

With a focus on raising awareness of the diverse opportunities within construction, the broadcast reached 213 educational establishments across the UK, including 105 pupils at seven schools across the Wirral.

People who made it happen

  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (MerseyTravel)
  • John Sisk & Son
  • Ramboll
  • Warbreck Engineering & Construction
  • Adey Steel Group
  • Osprey Marine