(this page revised 17 April 2013)
A/cs from 1934
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Jump to TUNNELS & TOLLS INFORMATION Contact Merseytravel councillors & Press Runcorn Bridge and "Mersey Gateway" Bridge
2013 TOLL INCREASE (click here for more details) PROTEST as the tolls went up on Easter Monday 1 April 2013.
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or you can phone 0151 678 5706 or 0774 269 5699.
(If you want to speak to someone at the Mersey Tunnels itself, their number is 0151 236 8602.
MTUA are ordinary users of the Mersey Tunnels that link Liverpool with the Wirral peninsula.
We campaign against tolls and toll increases, and take an interest in other issues that have an adverse effect on users of the Tunnels.
We are also opposed to the plan to toll both the proposed bridge and the existing bridge over the Mersey at Runcorn - RUNCORN / "Mersey Gateway" page on No Tolls site
We are part of:- NATIONAL ALLIANCE AGAINST TOLLS
There have been some major anti toll successes:-
Tolls on the Skye bridge, after a 9 year fight, were removed on 21st December 2004. A proposal for tolls in Edinburgh was defeated, three to one, by a poll in February 2005. On the 31st March 2006 the tolls were removed from the Erskine bridge over the Clyde. The proposed new M6 Toll Expressway was abandoned in July 2006. From the 11th February 2008, Scotland's last two tolls (Forth and Tay) were removed.
We had a long bitter campaign against the Mersey Tunnels Bill (Brief summary of the Bill) which made it easier to increase tolls and use toll money elsewhere. We tried to make Parliament aware of what this Bill was about and were hoping that they would not allow it to become law. But it was passed in the Commons on 29th October 2003. It then went to the Lords and we petitioned the Lords Committee, but the Lords passed it on 28th June 2004, by 75 votes to 65.
We have at various times submitted to Merseytravel a set of proposals that would benefit both tunnels users and the local economy in Liverpool and on the Wirral. The proposals required no contribution from taxes, but each time, Merseytravel have rejected them.
The last proposals were - 2008 Toll Proposals from MTUA
Previous ones were at the start of 2006, "Mersey Tunnels - Another Way Forward" which were rejected at a meeting with the public excuded. And in Autumn 2004 - "A New Way Forward For Tunnels"
The 2004 proposals were backed by local MPs including Frank Field, Stephen Hesford and Bob Wareing, by the Leader of Liverpool City Council (Mike Storey), and by Lords with a local connection including Lord Alton of Liverpool, Lord Chan of Oxton and Lord Hunt of Wirral.
They were also backed by the AA Motoring Trust, the Forum of Private Business, the RAC Foundation and the Road Haulage Association.
Subequent proposals from us have met with almost no support from the politicians, though as Merseytravel not only ignored support for the Autumn 2004 submission, but also increased tolls from April 2005, it seems that the views of MPs and others do not carry much weight with Merseytravel.
TUNNELS & TOLLS INFORMATION
There are two tunnels between Liverpool and the Wirral -
Birkenhead tunnel is one tube of 4 lanes. For some years it has had limits that effectively ban lorries - gross weight (3.5 tonnes), height (3.9 metres), width (2.7 metres) and length (12 metres).
Wallasey tunnel is two tubes each of two lanes. The main limits for the Wallasey tunnel are gross weight (38 tonnes) and height (5.0 metres), width (2.9 metres) and length including load (12.2 metres without trailer and 18.3 metres with). They frequently close one of the Wallasey tubes, and have two way working in the open tube.
"Dock" branches - the Birkenhead Tunnel was built with two branches from the main tunnel.
One branch is on the Liverpool side and has been one way since about 1970. It as usually referred to as "the Dock exit".
It is only an exit for traffic travelling towards Liverpool. You have to be in the left hand lane going through the main part of the tunnel in order to use the Dock exit.
The Dock exit branch is quite short and comes out at traffic lights at the junction of Chapel Street and the Strand (i.e. by St Nicholas's church and the Liver Buildings).
(There is another branch on the Birkenhead side. It was initially two way, then it was restricted to traffic going from Birkenhead to Liverpool and then it was closed about 1970.)
Height restriction - there is a restriction on all vehicles at most toll booths. Tall sided vehicles (and trailers), generally have to use booths to the left.
Restrictions on or near the Bidston viaduct - The main approach to the Wallasey tunnel from the Wirral is along the M53. Just before the tunnel, at Junction 1 of the M53, there is a viaduct over the A554 roundabout and a railway line. Over the years there have been various schemes to strengthen the viaduct. Sometimes there have been weight restrictions with HGVs being diverted so that they bypass the viaduct. Currently there are speed restrictions and temporary traffic lights on the roundabout. Details of the latest scheme on the Highways Agency website.
Tunnels Byelaws (pdf file). (Merseytravel don't use the common names, they call the Birkenhead tunnel - "Queensway", and the Wallasey tunnel - "Kingsway".)
If you have a large vehicle or dangerous or unusual load, you can check the byelaws and ring Mersey Tunnels on 0151 236 8602.
Learner drivers may use the Tunnels, but obviously you should not drive through unless you are competent and accompanied.
Closures - One of the two tubes of the Wallasey tunnel is usually closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays between about 9.45 AM and 3.30 PM. This usually causes congestion which continues into the PM peak. There are also irregular overnight closures of part of the Birkenhead Tunnel.
TOLLS from 1 April 2013
Motorbikes without a sidecar don't pay (there is a space without a toll barrier, on the left hand end of the line
of toll booths).
Cars = £1.60 each way.
Mini buses (seating capacity of less than 9 persons)= £1.60 each way.
Cars with a trailer = £3.20 each way.
Buses (Vehicles with seating capacity for 9 or more persons) with 2 axles =£ 3.20 each way.
Buses (Vehicles with seating capacity for 9 or more persons) with more than 2 axles = £ 4.80 each way.
Light Goods Vehicles (no more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) and no trailer = £1.60 each way.
Light Goods Vehicles (no more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) and with a trailer = £3.20 each way.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 2 axles = £3.20 each way.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 3 axles = £4.80 each way.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 4 or more axles = £6.40 each way.
There are no Toll barriers on the Liverpool side. You pay on the Wirral side on entry or exit. Most drivers pay by throwing the toll into the collection basket. If you have not got the correct money, there are a few manned booths, but they only give you change, you still have to throw the money in your self.
The Tunnels do not give receipts for tolls (and in any case there is no VAT).
There is another system used by some drivers called "Fast Tag". You get a 'discount' but have to pay monthly in advance by standing order. You are given a transponder (tag) that opens the toll barrier and reduces your pre paid credit. The transponder (tag) is free, but if it is lost or stolen there is a £30 charge from Merseytravel.
Users of the Fast Tag system were at last able to get a breakdown of individual journeys starting from around the end of 2005.
There are concessions available for Disabled Drivers. They have to be applied for in advance and the driver is issued with a "Fast Tag" which is credited for so many journeys in the year. (For some reason the driver has to use a manned toll booth, rather than an automatic one.) The number of journeys allowed is higher for residents of Merseyside.
The official Mersey tunnels phone number is 0151 236 8602.
Email Councillors & Press (clicking on a link will create a blank email message):-
Councillors on Merseytravel board (as at January 2013) -
Knowsley councillors on Merseytravel board
Liverpool councillors on Merseytravel board
St Helens councillors on Merseytravel board
Sefton councillors on Merseytravel board
Wirral councillors on Merseytravel board
ALL the councillors on Merseytravel board
Full contact details for all councillors can be found at -
St Helens Councillors
Send a letter to Daily Post
Send a letter to Liverpool Echo
Send a letter to Wirral Globe
Send a letter to Wirral News
Other contacts at the papers can be found at -
Liverpool Daily Post Liverpool Echo Wirral News Wirral Globe.
A/cs from 1934