The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) has announced that French company Emovis has won the 2018 Toll Excellence Award for ‘Private Sector Innovation’ for its work on the New Mersey Gateway Bridge project in Cheshire, UK.
As the worldwide association representing the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them, the IBTTA presents the Toll Excellence Awards annually, to highlight the very best projects, innovations and solutions from the international tolling industry. The award will be presented during IBTTA’s 86th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, which is taking place from October 14-16 in Baltimore, Maryland.
The New Mersey Gateway Bridge in the UK is an innovative response to a seemingly impossible situation faced by many local transportation authorities around the world. Congestion on the ageing local bridge had reached dangerous levels, with traffic volumes that risked community access to essential services on either side of the River Mersey. With no government funding available, the community knew it would never have the funds to complete the project unassisted. Built in 1961, the Silver Jubilee Bridge over the Mersey constitutes a vital link for the residents of Halton Borough, but 55 years later, it was approaching 10 times its intended traffic capacity, with daily peaks of up to 85,000 users in late 2017.
The community wanted a second bridge, but funding from the national government was denied due to scarce public funding resources. With the responsibility pushed back to the borough council, it fell to a community of 125,000, with an annual budget of just over US$130m to fund an US$800m infrastructure project.
To get the mobility it needed, the community accepted tolling on the existing bridge as well as the new one, after traffic modeling indicated that revenue from the new structure alone would not cover capital and operating costs.
Given a choice between tolling both bridges or having no new bridge at all, the council overwhelmingly supported the project, as did local businesses and most residents.
Halton needed an experienced toll service provider that could capture and channel the community’s vision.
Owned by Spanish company Abertis, one of the world’s leading highway concessions operators, Emovis was able to meet the challenge with an innovative electronic tolling solution that earned community support, while delivering the revenues the borough needed to meet its contractual obligations.
The Mersey Gateway uses a full free-flow gantry-based system that reads information from both RFID (radio frequency identification) onboard units (OBUs) and vehicle number plates using ALPR (automatic license plate recognition) cameras.
“Emovis continues to be a private sector leader in our industry for their implementation of innovative practices, promoting greater mobility for drivers,” said Patrick Jones, executive director and CEO of IBTTA.
“The 2018 Toll Excellence Awards are presented to an international list of tolling authorities responsible for developing creative strategies and new technologies to meet the demands of the driving public. We congratulate Emovis on this well-deserved recognition.”