JLA passengers could be fined
HOLIDAYMAKERS heading to Liverpool John Lennon Airport via Runcorn could fall foul of toll fines on the Mersey Gateway bridge after Highways England said it was not installing any signs on the approach roads, a Labour MP has warned.
Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale, asked the agency whether three signs on the M6 at junction 20 ( J20) and M56 J9 that say ‘For Liverpool airport follow Runcorn’ would be updated to include tolls information.
In a response, Highways England said neither itself or the Mersey Gateway project had any plans for signs on wider Cheshire motorway network.
A spokesman for the agency said the existing signs will be taken down ‘for the time being’, adding that there was an ‘obvious alternative route’ to Liverpool airport via the M6 J21a near Croft, Warrington.
He said the agency would continue to discuss ‘the potential need for further changes to signing on the strategic road network’ with Halton Borough Council and the Mersey Gateway.
The Labour MP’s comments have been echoed by motoring group the RAC. ●
Mr Amesbury said: “I was very surprised that there’s no updated signage to alert people they’re heading towards a tolled bridge, this is something I raised some weeks ago with Mersey Gateway.
“There’s clearly potential here for a lot of fed-up holidaymakers having to pay tolls because they’ve not been given sufficient warning, not to mention fines that they could incur.
“I’ve asked Highways England to keep me updated.”
Nick Lyes, RAC public affairs manager, said: “It looks as though the minimum has been done with the possibility that motorists are going to be drawn into Runcorn with no indication they have to pay tolls.
“This adds to an already stressful situation of having to pay tolls while they’re at the airport, or even coming back from holiday to find they’ve been fined.
“Signage must be as clear as possible.
“This means motorists know that they’re heading for a tolled crossing, with signs for alternative ‘nontolled’ routes too, as we see in other parts of the country where tolling is used.”
A Mersey Gateway project spokesman said: “We are working closely with Liverpool airport and other partners to ensure that they have the information they need to explain to their customers how Mersey Gateway tolling works.
“We also liaise closely with our colleagues at Highways England and Halton Council regarding signage on an ongoing basis and will obviously keep everything under regular review during this period around the opening of the new bridge to ensure signage is as clear and simple as possible for people to understand and follow.”
Mike Amesbury MP