Work has started to install new toll booths on the Humber Bridge as part of a multi-million pound scheme to modernise the way toll-charges are collected.
The work will see the number of booths on each side of the bridge reduced from three to six to accommodate an automated tolling system and two free flow lanes, as part of the ongoing Humber Bridge Toll Project.
All of the booths are forecast to be in situ by late June or early July but will continue to be staffed and manually operated for the coming months.
The new toll system, allowing full automation, will then be installed ready to be introduced between autumn this year and spring 2015, and a single staffed booth will remain in place on both sides of the bridge beyond this date.
General Manager and Bridge Master Peter Hill said he was excited about the the installation and described it as a ‘great indicator’ of how well the project was progressing.
The booths join new canopies which were installed on both sides of the bridge earlier this year.
Mr Hill said: “We have tried to minimise the unfortunate but necessary delays and disruptions during installation of the civils and general infrastructure work, but now, as we begin to install the new pieces of kit that customers will engage with in the new system, I hope they can get an idea of what we are working to achieve.
“For the team here at the bridge, who have spent many hours planning this work, seeing the booths go in is a real buzz. It is a reminder of how far we have come since work started in July last year.
“There is much more to do – you can’t just change an icon like the Humber Bridge over night – but when we look out of the office windows and see the point we have got to, it is really encouraging.”
Mr Hill added that once the booths are in place, although it may look as if work on the bridge is complete, there is a significant amount still to do.
“The booths will pave the way for us to introduce the automated tolling system and free flow lanes,” he said, “but customers must be aware that that isn’t the end of the work by quite a way.
“Automated tolling is the ultimate aim and is certainly on the way, but bridge users will have to wait a little while longer before they can take full advantage of it.”
Picture caption: Two of the six new toll booths currently being installed at the Humber Bridge.