Mersey Gateway is one of the UK’s most expensive toll roads

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The Mersey Gateway is the third most expensive toll route in the country and makes almost £39m a year, a new survey has found.

Figures compiled by comparison website GoCompare show the controversial bridge’s £2 is one of the most expensive in the UK, with only the Dartford Crossing in London and the M6 Toll Road costing more.

The survey also found that the £1.80 toll on the Mersey Tunnels was the fifth most expensive in the UK, but generated even more income than the Mersey Gateway.

According to GoCompare’s figures, the tunnels bring in £42.9m a year compared to the bridge’s £38.9m.

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But both the bridge and the tunnels are far outstripped by the M6 Toll Road and the Dartford Crossing, which bring in more than £90m a year each.

The cost of the Mersey Gateway has been a source of controversy since the bridge opened in October 2017.

Drivers objected to the toll and the fact that, unlike the tunnels, the bridge has no payment booths and relies on CCTV to enforce payment. Opponents of the bridge claim that the lack of toll booths means drivers are caught out by the toll.

But the council has argued that the Mersey Gateway has led to a significant improvement in journey times that would not have been possible if drivers had had to queue to pay the toll.

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The toll is also needed to pay the £1.86bn required to build and maintain the bridge until 2044 as the government requires crossings like the Mersey Gateway to pay for themselves.

There was further controversy last year when the Liverpool City Region suspended tolls for the Mersey Tunnels due to the pandemic but Halton Council was unable to do the same for the bridge as it needed government permission to do so.

The Department for Transport rejected several requests from the council to suspend the tolls, which council leader Rob Polhill said could “compromise efforts” to deal with Covid-19.

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