Southampton City Council has raked in over £2million thanks to journeys made over the Itchen Bridge.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Echo has revealed the staggering sum made by the council in one year alone.

In the 2021/22 financial year, the total income from the toll bridge was £3,650,585.62.

However, £1,306,341.81 of this was spent on various expenditures, leaving the total surplus amount at £2,344,243.81.

What is the purpose of the toll? 

Daily Echo: Itchen BridgeItchen Bridge (Image: John Osman)

According to the council, in "unusual" circumstances the government does not provide financial assistance, running costs, or major works to the structure.

This leaves the council to fund the upkeep and maintenance.

Despite this, the revenue made is not always used for the bridge.

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A council spokesperson said: “We may not have cause to use Itchen Bridge revenues for direct works to the bridge in any given year, but there are related costs that are paid for out of the general fund.

“The toll is maintained both to control the composition and flow of traffic over the bridge to avoid causing traffic congestion in adjacent areas and to secure the financial position and future prospects of the bridge.

“Portsmouth Road is the only key radial route with a direct link to a motorway route that is single carriageway along its entire length.

“It is therefore not suited to carry significant volumes of inbound/outbound traffic and there is no scope to widen it.

“The construction of the bridge effectively opened up this link to the city centre and the toll is in place to encourage drivers to make a meaningful decision about using that route.”

What was the £3m spent on?

  • Employee Costs: £253,336.37
  • Premises - Related Expenditure: £273,519.43
  • Supplies and Services: £291,487.89
  • Corporate Services: £146,400.00
  • Depreciation: £341,598.12

Over £1m was spent in total on the above, but where does that leave the remaining £2m?

The council said this lump sum will go towards an upcoming project which will take place in 2024/25.

The £4.5m project details plans to replace drainage, reconstruct the footways, provide new surfacing across the whole bridge, and the installation of safety measures.

More details on this will be released in due course.

No plans to remove the toll

Daily Echo:

Ever since the construction of the bridge in 1977, a well-repeated rumour has circulated around the city.

Many residents say the toll was due to be scrapped once the bridge was “paid off” but this has been disputed by the council.

A spokesperson said: “The council has no record of a commitment to remove the toll once the costs of original construction had been paid.

“As noted, the reasons for maintaining the toll are set out in Section 22 of the Hampshire Act 1983.”

On the contrary, tolls on the bridge are set to see a jump in price.

READ NEXT: Itchen Bridge crossing toll set to increase due to 'rise in operating costs'

Car, van, and small 4x4 drivers will be hit by a £1 fee in peak periods, up from 80p, while the off-peak cost will go from 70p to 80p.

And electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from tolls and will have to pay to cross the bridge.

This decision aims to control congestion in Woolston and provide more funding for the bridge’s maintenance.

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