JLA pas­sen­gers could be fined

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @oliv­er­clayRWWN

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

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