Liverpool

Wallasey Tunnels' queue levels exposed in survey

Wallasey Tunnel
Image caption Toll critics claim payment stops are to blame for the delays

The Wirral approach to the Wallasey Tunnels has been rated as the most congested British road outside London in a survey.

The Kingsway Tunnel approach has 90 hours of traffic jams a week, just two less than the UK's worst, Bedford Road in Clapham, North London.

Some travellers blamed tunnel tolls for the queues, but Merseytravel said removing tolls would increase queues.

The survey was carried out by sat-nav manufacturer TomTom.

'Reduce capacity'

John McGoldrick of the Mersey Tunnels Users Association said: "We knew it was bad, but we didn't expect it to be second worst in Britain.

"The reason for delays is the tolls. When it is really bad the traffic can stretch as far back as the Bidston viaduct.

"This isn't just in peak periods, there can be long queues if there is a sports event or if a sunny weekend has tempted drivers to cross the river."

A Merseytravel spokesperson said: "The independent Buchanan Report published earlier this year conceded congestion remains a problem with rush hour delays averaging seven minutes in both directions.

"However the report also concluded that if tolls were removed traffic demand could increase by up to 40% and the average delay would increase to some 20 minutes in each direction.

"The cost of this additional congestion to the region's economy was calculated at around £12 million per annum."

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