The way vehicles are classified for tolling at the Tyne Tunnels will change if new proposals are given the go ahead.
There are currently two classes of vehicle that pay a toll at the tunnels and ever since 1967 they have been determined by their weight.
However, new automatic tolling technology installed as part of the New Tyne Crossing project determines classes of vehicles by their height.
Since its installation, the new tolling system has identified all vehicles three metres or more high as Class 3. A very small number of these are less than 3.5 tonnes and so manual adjustments have been required to correct this.
The tunnels’ owners, the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA) will discuss the proposal to change the classification system and the tolls for HGVs at a meeting today (25 July).
If the proposals are given the go ahead then from 1 January 2014 the toll for Class 2 vehicles will continue to be £1.60 and the toll for Class 3 vehicles will rise from the current £2.50 to £3.20. The 10% discount for permit users will remain.
Paul Fenwick, TWITA project director, said: “As part of the setting of the concession tolls, we are also required to specify the criteria for each class of vehicles. The new system will be based on the height of vehicles rather than weight.
“We have looked at several permutations to reduce the impact of this change, which affects only about 90 journeys per week day, less than 0.17% of all traffic using the tunnels. All the options to mitigate the impact are inordinately complicated, costly and difficult to administer. Reluctantly we have had to recommend the most straightforward option.”