Innovative tolling technology being installed for tests in Runcorn
Drivers travelling along the Bridgewater Expressway in Runcorn this month will see two new gantries being erected over the road near Starbucks as they head towards the Silver Jubilee Bridge.
The equipment is being tested as part of the innovative tolling technology that will be used for the new bridge when it opens in autumn 2017 and also for traffic crossing the Silver Jubilee Bridge when it re-opens after refurbishment.
The test gantries being installed with the Silver Jubilee Bridge in the background
The equipment is being installed over the next four weeks, and there are a variety of lane closures on both the east and westbound sections of the Bridgewater Expressway to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, cyclists and workers during this time.
The testing will be an important part of the preparation for the new free-flow tolling system, which will allow drivers to travel over the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge without slowing down to stop at a toll booth.
The actual test process won’t begin until much later in the year. No-one will be charged during the testing period and the number plate data collected will not be stored any longer than is needed for the test.
Once the new bridge is open drivers will pay a toll to cross both bridges in Halton unless they qualify for and have registered for free crossings.
David Parr, Chief Executive of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and Halton Borough Council said: “As the project moves toward its latter stage of construction, the innovative free-flow tolling system must be tested to ensure the smooth operation of both bridges when the Mersey Gateway opens in autumn 2017.
“We have ensured that the installation of the test gantries will have minimal impact on traffic and the testing stage will not affect users in any way. Users will be able to travel across the bridge as normal.”
Anthony Alicastro, Project Director at Emovis, which is the specialist company that will be installing and managing the open road tolling system, said: “We’ve worked very closely with Merseylink, the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and colleagues across Halton Borough Council to ensure that people will be able to make their journeys across the river as quickly as possible without having to slow down for toll booths. This will make everyone’s journeys quicker, easier and more reliable.”
Eligible Halton residents will be able to cross both bridges for free providing they register in advance. Registration for Halton residents will cost £10 a year per vehicle.
You can find out more about the eligibility criteria for free crossings, toll fees and vehicle classes at www.merseygateway.co.uk/tolls. The new bridge is scheduled to open in autumn 2017.