END OF THE ROAD
The pictures motorists have longed to see as bulldozers start tearing down Severn bridge toll booths:
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.”
The toll booth removal gets under way
Motorists queue on the last day of the tolls