Media release
28th July 2017

Traffic testing begins at tolling gantry

In preparation for the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge, merseyflow has begun high-speed vehicle testing at its gantry on the new crossing.

A variety of vehicles have been driven repeatedly under the 8m high gantry on northbound and southbound carriageways as the sophisticated technology on the gantry is calibrated.

This is an important stage that has to be passed before the new bridge can be officially declared open, and the gantry certified for use.

Simon Thame, Installation Manager with merseyflow, explained the process in more detail.

He said tests were to be conducted for three eight-hour periods at three different times of day and night, and that the tests were required to ensure the system was ready to go live, ahead of the bridge opening this autumn.

"We have five vehicles that are being driven repeatedly under the gantry to ensure our cameras and scanners are properly set up, and can accurately read number plates and the merseyflow windscreen sticker," he said.

"We have drivers taking two cars, one light goods vehicle, one heavy goods vehicle and one motorbike across the bridge deck in continuous loops along the north and southbound carriageways.

"The vehicles need to be driven repeatedly under the gantry. What this allows us to do is to check that we're able to read data from vehicles.

"The process also helps us to ensure the system is 100% operational and ready to go. This is a standard procedure when preparing to open any tolled crossing."

Registration for tolls to cross the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and Silver Jubilee Bridge, when it has been refurbished, opened on July 17th, and merseyflow's website, call centre and walk-in centre are now open for business.

The merseyflow tolling system is being operated by emovis (www.emovis.com), a global leader in tolling solutions, and which successfully operates similar schemes in the UK, Canada and Ireland. emovis is 100% owned by abertis, the world's leader in highways management with more than 8,000 km of toll roads under contract.

How to register

If you would like to register there are a number of ways to do it.

The website - www.merseyflow.co.uk - is the quickest option, but you can also contact the call centre on: 01928 878 878, or visit the walk-in centre at 9 Howard Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1SJ.

Merseyflow is also running a temporary registration service at the Halton Direct Link on Brook Street in Widnes which began on 24 July and will run until the end of August.

The opening hours for the walk-in centre and call centre are 8am - 8pm weekdays, and 9am - 6pm weekends and bank holidays.

Registering is the only way to get discounts on journeys across the Mersey, or if you qualify, free travel across the bridges.

Anyone who is eligible for the Halton residents' discount scheme must register and pay their £10 annual fee in order to claim their free trips.

Anyone, wherever they live, can also register for a pre-pay account, or monthly pass which both give discounts on the full unregistered toll fee.

It will still be possible to cross the bridge without registering but, if you do, you will have to pay the full unregistered toll fee which is £2 per car per crossing, with additional charges for larger vehicles.

Blue Badge holders will also be able to register for unlimited travel on the bridges after providing copies of the front and back of their Blue Badge and paying a one-off £5 admin fee.

Once registered, you will receive a merseyflow sticker to place in your registered vehicle's windscreen.

This sticker means your vehicle will be recognised when you travel across the new bridge, and will ensure you do not receive a penalty charge notice as long as you have funds in your account.

A guide outlining exactly where to place the sticker on your windscreen is also available.

Merseyflow has produced a range of leaflets to help explain the registration process to people that live in Halton, as well as to residents living outside of the area.

The new bridge is expected to open this autumn. When it opens the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be closed to road traffic for up to 12 months while it is refurbished.

During this time the Silver Jubilee Bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Editors Notes:

More information about tolling is available at www.merseyflow.co.uk. Both the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled.

You can find out more about the construction and history of the Mersey Gateway Project at www.merseygateway.co.uk.

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