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Severn bridges tolls come to an end after 52 years

The original Severn Crossing Credit: PA

Motorists can travel for free for the first time in 52 years on the two Severn bridges as the tolls are scrapped on Monday.

The abolition comes as thousands of people are expected to make their journeys home for Christmas.

Charges on the original Severn Crossing have been in place since 1966, when the fee stood at two shillings and sixpence - the equivalent of 12.5p in decimal currency today.

They were then introduced on the second crossing - renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge in April this year - when it opened 30 years later in 1996.

The UK Government said scrapping the tolls will provide an immediate benefit of over £100 million per year for Wales.

The end of the tolls is a major milestone for the economies of south Wales and south west of England, and will remove historic barriers between communities. Scrapping the tolls means an end to generations of people paying to simply cross the border, and delivering this has been one of my key aims as Welsh Secretary. A week before Christmas drivers will no longer have to pay every time they cross the border, meaning more money in their pockets, helping them with the cost of living and leaving them with and more cash to spend in their local areas.

– Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales
There will be no more tolls from Monday 17 December.

Highways England began work to remove the tolls on Friday morning. Work continued over the weekend with the Prince of Wales Bridge fully closed each evening.

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It's an emotional day, it's a really close-knit group of staff here at the Severn Bridges and many of them have been here for a number of years. So it is an emotional day for people as they approach they end. But we are supporting them through that and we're pleased that a number of staff will be staying on with Highways England in new roles.

– Rob Llewellyn, Head of Operations for Severn Bridges

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