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Private bypass

August 12, 2014

A431 toll road

Bathtollroad    crack   roadworks_2994954c

In February 2014 a landslip on the A431 between Bristol and Bath opened cracks in the road and forced a 14 mile diversion. It was tricky to repair; the council estimated it would be closed till the end of the year, and that a temporary bypass would cost £1.6M and take 16 weeks to build.

So in August local businessman, Mike Watts, took matters into his own hands and built a diversion a few hundred yards up the hillside. It took three men ten days, and £150,000; plus a further £1,000 per day to operate. So long as the council don’t speed up, £2 per car should pay for it.

diversion   Mike_Watts_at_a431_toll_road._Kelston

It’s the first new toll road in Britain since the M6 bypass, and the first privately built one for at least a hundred years.

We need more. Let’s replace the “free” tarmac we currently overuse  with correctly priced alternatives. Imagine the pollution that could prevent.

Jim Thornton

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