Tyne Tunnel toll cameras move step closer
Toll barriers on the Tyne Tunnel have moved a step closer to being replaced with cameras in a move to cut congestion.
Tunnel operator TT2 said drivers were "overwhelmingly" in favour of replacing booths on the north side of the river with number plate recognition cameras.
The North East Joint Transport Committee has agreed to start formal talks with TT2 on the £80m-scheme.
Toll increases have also been delayed by a month.
TT2 customer operations manager, Chris Ward, said: "The new [camera] system, combined with our roadwork improvements, will eventually mean a far more convenient journey for drivers using the tunnels."
Though cameras have already been installed at the tunnel crossing to allow drivers with pre-paid permits to pass straight through the barriers, TT2 wants to make further upgrades that would see the barriers removed completely, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Once the new system is operational, any drivers without a permit displayed would have their number plate recognised by cameras and be able to pay later online.
Drivers would be able to pay in cash at PayPoint locations as well as at the TT2 offices.
The toll was expected to go up this month - increasing by 10p from £1.70 to £1.80 for cars and LGVs, and by 20p, from £3.40 to £3.60, for HGVs.
However, councillors were told it would now be mid-May before drivers saw the price hike come into force due to a delay from the Department for Transport.
A new phone app enabling Tyne Tunnel users to pay for their permit on their phones and view traffic alerts is also due to launch.