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Where there’s a will, there’s a way

August 10, 2014

Here’s some interesting news from Bath (in southwest England).

Rolling in money: Man makes toll road to get around roadworks

A grandfather sick of roadworks near his home defied his council and built his own toll road allowing people to circumvent the disrupted section.

Opened on Friday, it’s the first private toll road built since cars became a familiar sight on British roads 100 years ago. Motorists pay £2 [$3.30 USD] to travel each way and bypass the 14 miles diversion.

Mike Watts, 62, hired a crew of workmen and ploughed £150,000 [~$250,000 USD] of his own cash into building a 365m [0.23 mi.] long bypass road in a field next to the closed A431. He reckons it will cost another £150,000 in upkeep costs and to pay for two 24 hour a day toll booth operators.

Speaking from the road in Kelston, Somerset, Mike said: “Too many people are displaced by the road closure, their daily lives have been so disrupted by this.”

The A431 between Bristol and Bath was closed in February after a landslip caused huge cracks to appear in the road.

Quickly businesses in the area began to suffer – including the cafe and party supplies shop Mike runs with wife Wendy Rice, 52, in Bath.

Naturally, the local bureaucracy wasn’t pleased.

But a spokesman for the council said it was not happy about the bold build.

“It is not just the planning, it’s the legal aspect of drivers using the road, and also safety – the area around the road where the landslip occurred has only just stopped moving, which is why work has only just been able to begin.”


Update 10/13/14:

Here’s a video about Mr. Watts’ toll road; he backed the cost of construction with his house.

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