Humber Bridge electronic toll work delayed

Humber Bridge Bridgemaster Peter Hill Image copyright Dan Urben
Image caption Bridgemaster Peter Hill said the final stage of the project was underway

Plans to introduce a new electronic toll system on the Humber Bridge have been delayed.

The multimillion-pound project was supposed to be completed by spring, but the Humber Bridge Board (HBB) said it would now be ready by winter.

Motorists will be able to pay the toll automatically using an electronic tag linked to their online account.

Bridgemaster Peter Hill said the delay was due to increased traffic since the toll was reduced to £1.50 in 2012.

Chancellor George Osborne reduced the tolls - the UK's most expensive - after campaigners said they damaged the economy and local people.

Image copyright PAul harrop
Image caption The Humber Bridge, a 2,220m suspension bridge, opened to traffic in June 1981

Under the new system, the Humber Bridge's middle lanes will not have booths so tag holders can cross without having to stop.

The outside lanes will have electronically controlled barriers for drivers without tags.

The HBB said traffic has increased by 26% since tolls were reduced, and now around 16,000 vehicles cross each day.

People will able to register for an electronic tag in summer, and the system will be running from autumn/winter.

'Worst behind us'

Mr Hill said: "We knew there would be an increase in traffic if the tolls were reduced, which put us in a bit of a Catch 22 situation.

"We weren't able to undertake the work before the government confirmed they would reduce the debt burden, but we knew that when they did we would need the extra capacity immediately."

A third lane with toll booths on each side eased the long queues, but reduced space to carry out the work which meant that the project progressed more slowly than anticipated.

Mr Hill said: "The worst is behind us. We're confident the new system will benefit drivers and the whole region, which will make all the waiting worthwhile."

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