Works to upgrade the toll system on the Tamar Bridge to make it quicker and easier for service users will enter a key phase today, when the focus shifts to the nearside ‘tag-only’ lane – lane 7 which is dedicated to Saltash traffic and buses.
New equipment has already been installed in the toll booths on lanes 1, 3,4 and 5 in readiness for the launch of the upgraded system. Work is also taking place to upgrade the system on the Torpoint ferries.
Specific improvements for service users include an automatic replacement system for older tags, together with the introduction of online applications for new tags, improved web services, and the option for contactless card payments on the Bridge. We are also working to develop a contactless solution for the Ferry in the near future. There will also be a new payment option which can automatically top up tag holders’ accounts when their balances drop below the low balance level rather than depending on fixed monthly direct debits which may not match actual usage. New technology will also be introduced at the ferry which ensures ferry collectors have the latest balance available, rather than taking up to 24 hours for it to show.
As Lane 7 is the busiest lane on the main deck we have been working closely with contractors to develop robust plans to manage traffic flows and minimise disruption to drivers and the wider Saltash community. As a result during this transition we will be dedicating lanes 5 and 6 for exclusive use by Saltash traffic, with other traffic using lanes 1 to 4 while the works are taking place. Once the new systems have been installed on lane 7, work will immediately begin on upgrading the adjacent lane 6.
A temporary traffic management system will be introduced prior to the start of the works on lane 7 which will then remain in place until the works on lane 6 have been completed and tested. This is expected to take up to four weeks in total.
We recognise that carrying out this work will inevitably cause some disruption, particularly at peak times, and apologise for any inconvenience to people using the bridge. We are working very hard to keep this to a minimum and would ask people to be patient while we complete these much needed improvements to the toll system.