Drivers paid a total of £2.7m to cross the Itchen Bridge in the first eight-month period tolls increased, figures show.

Data obtained by the Daily Echo under Freedom of Information law covers the first eight months since the toll went up from 80p to £1 at peak times on April 1 last year.

The off-peak toll has since been completely scrapped.

The figures from Southampton City Council show that it received £2.76m in crossing toll income between April and November last year.

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for transport, previously justified the increase by reminding residents of the ‘significant period’ where there has been no increase to the charge.

FOI data also shows crossings brought in £3.79m of income for the city council in the full year April 2022 to March 2023, the figures show.

This is down from 2021/22, when the total income from the bridge was £3.65m.

But the overall surplus - the total cash when spending is taken away from income - increased to £2.47m in 2022/23, up from £2.34m in 2021/22.

What was £3.7m spent on?

Daily Echo: Itchen Bridge at nightItchen Bridge at night (Image: Neil Harris)

A lot of the cash generated from the bridge goes on its maintenance and running costs.

A total of £3,790,792 in income was generated by the bridge in the 2022/23 financial year.

Around £1.3m of this was spent on staffing, premises and supplies. The figures are:

Employee costs - £277,590

Premises costs - £34,855

Supplies and services - £299,123

Other charges - £702,769

Total expenditure - £1,314,337

Rise in toll here to stay

Daily Echo:

Southampton City Council’s cabinet voted unanimously in favour of putting up charges.

Off-peak fees – which were 80p and 30p for small cars – have been scrapped.

Crossings over the bridge now cost £1 or 40p for those with a Smart Cities Card.

Trucks and lorries now pay £40 to cross, up from £15.

The spokesperson for the council said: “The purpose of the Itchen Bridge toll is both to make drivers consider if they need to use the Itchen Bridge for any particular journey as well as to raise funds for the maintenance of the bridge.”

Why is there a toll for the bridge?

The bridge was constructed in 1977 to create an additional, viable route for motorists travelling in and out of Southampton.

Revenue from crossings go towards a variety of things, including upkeep of the bridge.

But this year, a large chunk of money will contribute to the ‘most significant programme of maintenance works’ to the bridge since it opened.

A total of £5m will go towards the improvement work, which includes suicide prevention safety measures.

A spokesperson from Southampton City Council said: “This year, the council is planning what will be the most significant programme of maintenance works to the Itchen Bridge crossing since it first opened.

“The maintenance project will ensure that the bridge remains in good working order and will cost up to £5m, providing drainage improvements, resurfacing and the installation of additional safety features.”

The council previously confirmed the government does not provide financial assistance, running costs, or major works to the structure in what is described as ‘unusual’ circumstances.