For years campaigners against Humber Bridge tolls have voiced fears that the huge debt will never be repaid. The cost for a single car crossing the bridge was recently increased from £27 to £30. The Humber Bridge Board said the rise was necessary to ensure that the £300 million debt (the accrued interest on a Government grant) is repaid by 2032.
But leaders of Humber Bridge Action Against Tolls have had enough. "We feel as though we are on a road to nowhere. They should be scrapped."
This triggered a master plan which was quickly put into action last night, when the Humber Bridge Board pulled off a remarkable deal with local scrap metal merchants. Overnight, the bridge was stripped of all metal, and this fetched £300 million (in £50 and £20 notes) when off-loaded at hundreds of scrap yards on both sides of the Humber.
So, this huge debt can now be finally paid off - in cash. And the bridge tolls have also been scrapped - as were the toll-booths themselves.
Campaigners celebrated this morning by waving at each other from both sides of the River Humber.