It will soon cost drivers more money to cross the Itchen Bridge in Southampton after the city council approved plans to raise toll charges.

Southampton City Council’s cabinet on Tuesday voted unanimously in favour of putting up charges, despite a month-long consultation at the end of 2023 which found more than 90 per cent disagreed with the plans.

The increase comes by scrapping off-peak fees, meaning a £1 for car crossings – or 40p for those with a Smart Cities Card.

Off-peak fees were 80p and 30p respectively.

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for transport, said: “The bridge is one of the city’s most important highway access (routes) and is a key strategic link.

“Charges not only help to manage demand but provide an income stream to maintain its upkeep.

“Later this year the council will be undertaking a multi-million-pound project to improve the drainage and safety features on the bridge.”

The cabinet member admitted that the removal of the off-peak charge ‘does represent an increase’ to Southampton residents, but justified it by saying ‘the time was in 2003’.

He said: “We have had a significant period where there has been no increase to the charge.”

There is also going to be an increase of £15 for heavy vehicle crossings such as trucks and lorries, up to £40.

The council says the purpose of the toll increase is to manage traffic and improve maintenance.

The authority is expected to see a profit of £800,000 over the next three years from the changes.