END OF THE ROAD

The pic­tures mo­torists have longed to see as bull­doz­ers start tear­ing down Sev­ern bridge toll booths:

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - TYLER MEARS Re­porter [email protected]­line.co.uk

IT’S a scene that mo­torists have been des­per­ate to see. These pic­tures, taken on Fri­day night, show de­mo­li­tion work be­gin­ning on the toll booths at the Prince of Wales Bridge.

It fi­nally sig­nals that the end of hav­ing to dig deep in your pock­ets to drive into Wales over the bridge is very nearly here.

The tolls, which have been in place since the first cross­ing opened in 1966, will no longer be charged from first thing to­mor­row.

De­mo­li­tion work be­gan on Fri­day to pre­pare for the land­mark change.

It’s led to dis­rup­tion over the week­end, with some lanes closed at cer- tain times and traf­fic be­ing di­verted over the M48 bridge at other times.

To­day, three toll lanes will be closed un­til 7pm to al­low de­mo­li­tion to con­tinue.

And tonight, the bridge will be fully closed west­bound and driv­ers will be di­verted via the M48 bridge.

To­mor­row morn­ing, the Prince of Wales Bridge will re­open with three free-flow­ing lanes. These will be nar­row lanes with a 50mph speed limit to en­sure the safety of driv­ers.

Shortly af­ter­wards, the M48 bridge will be fully closed west­bound for its tolls to be dis­man­tled. It will then re­open on the morn­ing of Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 19, with two freeflow­ing lanes. These will also be nar­row lanes with a 50mph speed limit to en­sure the safety of driv­ers.

Fur­ther work will be car­ried out in 2019 to re­turn both routes to a three­lane mo­tor­way with the usual 70mph speed limit.

Peo­ple have been de­scrib­ing the de­mo­li­tion work as “an end of an era” and oth­ers cel­e­brat­ing the fact they will no longer have to pay to use the bridge.

Sev­ern bridges gen­eral man­ager Han­nah Milliner said: “Work is needed to make sure that driv­ers can safely travel across the bridges with­out stop­ping to pay a toll, or wait­ing for a bar­rier to be raised.

“The week­end we have cho­sen avoids peak pe­riod traf­fic and also means that the work will be com­plete so that driv­ers can make jour­neys free of charge over the fes­tive pe­riod.

“We would like to thank driv­ers in ad­vance for their patience while we carry out this work and to ask them to plan ahead for any jour­neys they are con­sid­er­ing.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant piece of work which is far more com­plex than sim­ply re­mov­ing toll booths. We want to make sure that jour­neys can be com­pleted safely and free of charge by the end of the year and will then fo­cus on the next stage of work.”

ROWAN GRIFFITHS

The toll booth re­moval gets un­der way

ADRIAN WHITE

Mo­torists queue on the last day of the tolls

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