Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Camilla's Royal Progress; Charles Takes a Back Seat Role as Duchess Embarks on First Duties

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Camilla's Royal Progress; Charles Takes a Back Seat Role as Duchess Embarks on First Duties

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

MOTORISTS today spoke of their anger after it was announced that roadworks on Tower Bridge would divert them into the congestion charge zone.

Transport for London is to shut the bridge between 30 April and 8 May with the diversion sending drivers across Southwark and London bridges.

Although drivers are assured they will not be charged if they stick to the exact route marked out by TfL, the slightest detour will land them with a [pounds sterling]5 bill.

The work is being carried out to see whether the 111-year-old bridge needs major refurbishment. TfL says it will have to remove the road surface to examine the bridge properly - forcing the closure.

But drivers say it will be difficult to stick to the diversion.

Paul Game, 39, who works in SE13 for a water company, said: "I drive round London for work and I know that it would be hard to follow a diversion if it did not go exactly where you wanted."

Mark Philpot, 38, a plumber from Ipswich, added: "I'm not very happy about this. I come through this way every day, and the reason I take this road is to avoid the congestion zone.

"When they close Tower Bridge I'm going to come in via the M25 - I'm not following their divers ion." Kevin Delaney, a spokesman for the RAC Foundation-said the alternative route chosen by TfL was unlikely to be very clear to motorists and they might find themselves leaving the diversion by mistake.

He said: "The roads around Southwark are like a rabbit warren. Unless the chosen route is on a really clear road, and it is really clearly signposted, most motorists are going to get lost.

"It would be fine to provide an alternative route, but to say to motorists that if they stray from the diversion they are going to be penalised is entirely wrong. It is not going to do anything to improve public perception of congestion charging. Motorists are already pretty angry about the rise in the charge to [pounds sterling]8, which seems to be for no valid reason, and this is going to make them very angry.

"People understand that Tower Bridge has got to be shut, but to penalise people for straying is not going to go down at all well. …

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