Toll booth at heart of vil­lagers’ traf­fic jam protests burns down

The Daily Telegraph - - News -

A HISTORIC toll booth that has been at the cen­tre of a res­i­dents’ row for caus­ing traf­fic jams has burnt down.

The booth at Warburton Toll Bridge, which charges mo­torists 12p to cross and can only be paid by hand and in cash, was re­ported to be on fire in the early hours of yes­ter­day morn­ing.

The booth has be­come such a bone of con­tention for lo­cals for caus­ing tail­backs that one of them even paid £25 a day to al­low all driv­ers to cross the bridge free, thus al­low­ing toll booth at­ten­dants to wave driv­ers through with­out hav­ing to stop.

The bridge links the vil­lages of Rix­ton in War­ring­ton, Cheshire, with Warburton in Traf­ford, Greater Manch­ester.

The Warburton Toll Bridge Ac­tion Face­book Group was set up to chal­lenge Peel Hold­ings, the own­ers, to up­date the booth or scrap it.

A spokesman for the group said that in the short-term the fire meant that there would be no de­lays as peo­ple wouldn’t need to stop and pay tolls.

Andrew Hig­gins, the group’s act­ing chair­man, said: “In the short term, we hope ev­ery­one is OK. We will be in no doubt that Peel Port will soon re­build and con­tinue to col­lect its toll fares.

“At least the lo­cal road net­works will not have the se­vere con­ges­tion at peak traf­fic time that have been caus­ing ter­ri­ble de­lays to jour­neys.”

Many res­i­dents re­acted to the news on­line, with some sug­gest­ing it could be the work of a dis­grun­tled lo­cal res­i­dent. One wrote: “Maybe last night’s traf­fic was the fi­nal straw for some­one! It’s like a dream come true!”

A spokesman for Greater Manch­ester Po­lice con­firmed that the in­ci­dent was be­ing treated as ar­son and that in­quiries were on­go­ing.

A toll has been charged on the bridge for more than 150 years, and cur­rently all ve­hi­cles wish­ing to cross must pay 12p, with a daily pass avail­able for 25p.

It orig­i­nally cost one per­son on horse­back or in a cart 1d (which equated to 18p in 2017) to cross.

Ian Marks, Lymm North and Thel­wall coun­cil­lor, added that it was pos­si­ble that some­one had be­come fed up with the booth, adding: “I have no idea who is re­spon­si­ble.”

Greater Manch­ester Po­lice con­firmed that the fire was be­ing treated as ar­son

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