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14 December 2018, 09:12 | Updated: 14 December 2018, 09:39
Work begins to remove the toll booths and make both the M4 and M48 crossings free for all.
Highways England are starting with the recently re-named M4 Prince of Wales Bridge, which opened in 1996. After a weekend of lane closures, it is due to re-open without tolls on Monday the 17th December.
Work will then begin to remove the toll booths from the older M48 bridge, with complete Westbound closures for approximately two days until it re-opens without tolls on Wednesday the 19th.
Robert Llewellyn from Highways England said: "So it's not safe to just lift the barriers and expect people to drive through at speed. The toll booths and the lanes are relavtively narrow and we can't expect people to drive through at speed safely.
"What we're doing is creating a temporary road through the toll plaza through the weekend, we have to remove the toll booths, remove the technology we have there, then put a new road surface in, so there's quite a lot of work involved."
The full detail of works are as follows:
Friday 14 December
From 9am three lanes will be closed on the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge, to allow work to start.
The M48 bridge will operate as usual.
At 8pm the Prince of Wales Bridge will be fully closed westbound and drivers will be diverted via the M48 bridge.
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December
This same pattern will continue over the weekend with the bridge running with three lanes closed from 6am to 8pm on Saturday and 6am to 7pm on Sunday.
Overnight the bridge will be fully closed westbound and drivers will be diverted via the M48 bridge.
This means the last toll paying vehicle will cross the Prince of Wales Bridge at approx 7pm on Sunday 16th.
Monday 17 December
By rush hour on Monday the Prince of Wales bridge will reopen with three (free) flowing lanes.
These will be narrow lanes with a 50mph speed limit to ensure the safety of drivers.
Shortly after the Prince of Wales bridge reopens, the M48 bridge will be fully closed westbound for two days.
Wednesday 19 December
M48 Bridge reopens in the morning with two free flowing lanes. These will be narrow lanes with a 50mph speed limit to ensure the safety of drivers.
Further work will be carried out in 2019 to return both routes to a three lane motorway with the usual 70mph speed limit.