Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced that motorists would be able to use both the Queensway and Kingsway tunnels for free as the region battles coronavirus. Tony McDonough reports
All Mersey Tunnel tolls are to be suspended to allow frontline key workers to get around during the coronavirus crisis.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced that motorists would be able to use both the Queensway (Birkenhead) and Kingsway (Wallasey) tunnels for free from 8pm on Thursday, March 26.
And Halton Council has also asked the Government for permission to suspend tolls on the Mersey Gateway bridge, a major route linking Widnes with Runcorn.
Collecting the toll during this period is not considered an essential role to facilitate travel. The safety of our customers and staff must be our priority at this time. In line with national advice only key workers should be travelling at this time, and therefore using the Mersey Tunnels, and the Metro Mayor is telling people to stay at home.
Mr Rotheram said: “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures – and that is why, following discussions with our six council leaders, I am today suspending all tolling on the Mersey Tunnels.
“This is absolutely the right thing to do for our key workers who have to travel and are working tirelessly in our communities day in and day out to provide crucial services to keep us all safe.
“In light of national advice there should only be key workers using our tunnels and by suspending the tolls we can actively support them in what are extremely challenging circumstances.”
Halton Council is also taking steps to remove tolls on Mersey Gateway, but to do so requires Government approval. Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Council, said: “We have put a proposal into Government asking them to agree to remove tolls from Mersey Gateway, as we need Government consent to do this. We are currently waiting for their response.
““If Government agree our request Halton Council, in conjunction with the Department for Transport (DfT), will be suspending the requirement to pay road user charges on Mersey Gateway with immediate effect and will also be kept under review in line with Government announcements.
“The council would encourage those not engaged in key worker roles to comply with Government Guidance to stay at home, work remotely where ever possible and only make journeys that are necessary.”