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Mersey Ferry Pontoon Gangways

Eadon Consulting carried out the detailed design and specification of a mechanised pedestrian linkspan for use when boarding and disembarking from the Mersey Ferries. We worked with Tony Gee and Partners who supported civil contractor Balfour Beatty with the design and supply a new floating pontoon and link span for the famous Mersey ferries in Liverpool. The project involved the design of a brand new pontoon and link span, including all of the associated buildings and facilities for running one of the main transport links for the city of Liverpool.

Key facts


River Mersey, Liverpool


Mersey Ferries

In Partnership with

Tony Gee & Partners

As part of the pontoon design, Tony Gee and Partners needed to develop a new gangway design to provide the link between the pontoon deck and ferry. Eadon Consulting provided specialist subconsultant advise on the integration of the structure with the required hydraulic and electrical control systems, as well as to develop the detailed design of these systems.

The gangways operate approximately twice per hour, 365 days a year, and it is essential they are reliable – as they are the only means by which passengers embark and disembark. Due to the constant motion of the ferry whilst berthed, it is quite common for the gangways to need to move vertically by a metre. 

A special design for the hydraulic circuit had to be developed such that the gangway ramp could be raised and lowered safely, whilst ensuring that it was possible for the hydraulics to allow the ramp to move freely, effectively going into a float mode, when in contact with a vessel. The electrical system was developed to ensure that the hydraulics operated safely, with sensing and interlocks being carefully specified. Due to the safety critical nature of the system and its interaction with the public, an initial SIL assessment (Safey Integrity Level assessment) was carried out.

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