Plans are being developed for a new booth-free tolling system which is expected to reduce journey times across the Humber Bridge.
Motorists will no longer have to stop when crossing the Grade One listed structure once the major upgrade is complete.
Although the project is in the very early stages of development, the first steps in modernising the tolling system are now underway, including a new payment website. The new system would be designed to make payment easier, with everyone accommodated including those who prefer not to pay online.
The new tolling system is likely to require more staff to work in the office, meaning those currently working in the booths will be offered a new role.
The Humber Bridge Board is now starting a procurement process for consultants to work on the project. Once completed, the free flow system is expected to drastically reduce queuing at all times of the day.
Councillor Sean Chaytor, Chair of the Humber Bridge Board, said: “A free flow system addresses the limitations of the current hybrid (tag lane and toll booths) situation at the Humber Bridge. This will provide future proofing for tolling requirements and cope with any increases in traffic.
“The new system will have a huge, positive impact on crossing times, and with a brand new website dealing with payments, the whole experience of using the Humber Bridge will be significantly improved.
“We know static, queuing vehicles increase pollution. By removing the need for motorists to stop and start, we will cut carbon emissions generated by bridge users.”
Richard Hannigan, Deputy Chair of the Humber Bridge Board, added the upgrade would bring the north and south banks even closer together.
Councillor Hannigan, who is also Deputy Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Being able to cross the bridge more quickly further opens up the opportunity for people to live on one side of the estuary and work on the other.
“It facilitates the movement of commercial traffic, meaning goods coming to and from the docks can reach their destination sooner, emergency vehicles will be able to cross faster and people attending hospital appointments will be able to plan their crossings with a greater degree of confidence, knowing they will get where they need to be on time. All in all, it is great news for our region.”
Andrew Arundel, Chief Operating Officer of the Humber Bridge, added: “Once completed, it will make crossing the bridge a far more enjoyable experience. However, we’re also aware that motorists might be concerned that work will get underway soon, causing further disruption shortly after vital maintenance work to replace bearings at the Barton end of the bridge was completed.
“This is not the case. The system is in the early design stage and work on the bridge itself is unlikely to start for some time. For the time being, disruption to motorists and other users will be kept to a minimum.”