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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 14:42 GMT
Bridge toll rise pays for works
Higher tolls on the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol are being used to fund a 1m programme of maintenance and improvements.

Bridge master David Anderson said the work was "absolutely crucial" to preserve the structure for the future.

"Later this year we will be resurfacing the bridge and improving the drains which will help corrosion problems."

Painting work and additional security measures for the bridge's towers will also take be undertaken.

'Delays likely'

Mr Anderson, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust added: "The painting work done this year will be mainly underneath on the cross girders with the main work being done in 2009.

"It is likely there will be some bridge closures at night and at weekends to allow this work to take place but we will be speaking to the contractors once they have been appointed to minimise delays."

Work will also be carried out to extend safe access to chambers discovered underneath the bridge towers in 2002 .

However the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust said the chambers would not be opened to the public.

The hike in tolls from 30p to 50p per crossing took place in January 2007.

Unnecessary increase

It followed a public inquiry and opposition from the National Alliance Against Tolls.

A spokesman for the Alliance said: "As we argued at the 2006 toll inquiry, the increased level of tolls was not needed to pay for essential upkeep of the bridge.

"Most of the money has gone on things like the illuminations and the planned museum.

"These things should be paid for either out of taxes or funds such as the National Lottery."

The bridge's charitable trust receives no outside assistance with its running costs.

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22 Dec 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
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