News: Private toll road bypass proves a hit with drivers

I toll you it would work

Mike Watts toll road

MOST DRIVERS have thought that they could manage the roads better than their council. Now one businessman from near Bath has proved it. Mike Watts, 62, has just welcomed the 100,000th car onto his private toll road, which opened in August to bypass roadworks on the A431, a busy commuter route between Bristol and Bath.

The works, to repair a landslip, were forcing drivers to take a 14-mile detour until Watts laid 400 yards of rolled chippings through two adjacent fields, hired from a farmer. To drive on the 23ft-wide road costs £2 per journey. It is open 24 hours a day, but Watts needs another 50,000 cars to break even and cover his costs before the A431 reopens around Christmas.

Bath and North East Somerset Council said that it had considered building its own bypass but decided not to. Watts’s road even appears on Google Maps as the Kelston toll road.


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