Tyne Tunnels
Tyne Tunnels

Why pay a toll to travel through the Tyne Tunnels?

The vehicular Tyne Tunnels have always had a toll system in place.

Although an act of Parliament was passed in 1946 to empower the County Councils of Durham and Northumberland to build three Tyne Tunnels (one for vehicles, one for bicycles, and one for pedestrians), a lack of funding meant that it was not possible to build all tunnels at once. Plans for the more expensive road tunnel were therefore put on hold while the Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels were built.

By 1957 pressure was mounting to build the vehicle tunnel, although estimated costs had risen to more than £12 Million. The then Government Transport Secretary announced that any new project of this type must be at least partly self-funding and that if it were to proceed the road tunnel would have to be tolled. Hence the only way forward for the Tyne vehicle tunnel was as a toll road.

The New Tyne Crossing project, which resulted in the construction of the new vehicle tunnel, improved approaches, and the major refurbishment of the 1967-built road tunnel, required no finance from Central Government. The £260 Million scheme was entirely self-funded, and is ultimately paid for by the people who use it, through toll revenues. As a private road it is vital that tolls continue to be collected, to cover the costs associated with the New Tyne Crossing project, as well as providing the funds to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance of all four Tyne Tunnels.

The Tyne Tunnels are private roads that do not benefit from centrally-funded maintenance, refurbishment or operational support.

Who sets the toll levels?

The North East Combined Authority (NECA) decides what the toll levels should be, through a publicly accountable decision-making process, and TT2 collects the tolls on their behalf. A proportion of the toll revenues are returned to TT2, with the remainder staying with NECA. NECA is responsible for the major maintenance of the Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels and the toll revenues that NECA receives from the vehicle tunnels fund these improvement works.

NECA, a public authority, is committed to keeping tolls as low as possible, hence the most expensive design choices were not pursued during the build of the new tunnel.