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(this page revised 1 April 2018)


  • There are two tunnels between Liverpool and the Wirral -

    Birkenhead tunnel is one tube of 4 lanes. For some years it has had limits that effectively ban lorries - gross weight (3.5 tonnes), height (3.9 metres), width (2.7 metres) and length (12 metres).

    Wallasey tunnel is two tubes each of two lanes. The main limits for the Wallasey tunnel are gross weight (38 tonnes) and height (5.0 metres), width (2.9 metres) and length including load (12.2 metres without trailer and 18.3 metres with). They frequently close one of the Wallasey tubes, and have two way working in the open tube.

  • "Dock" branches - the Birkenhead Tunnel was built with two branches from the main tunnel.
    One branch is on the Liverpool side and has been one way since about 1970. It as usually referred to as "the Dock exit".
    It is only an exit for traffic travelling towards Liverpool. You have to be in the left hand lane going through the main part of the tunnel in order to use the Dock exit.
    The Dock exit branch is quite short and comes out at traffic lights at the junction of Chapel Street and the Strand (i.e. by St Nicholas's church and the Liver Buildings).
    (There is another branch on the Birkenhead side. It was initially two way, then it was restricted to traffic going from Birkenhead to Liverpool and then it was closed in 1969 or 1970.)

  • Height restriction - there is a restriction on all vehicles at most toll booths. Tall sided vehicles (and trailers), generally have to use booths to the left.

  • Restrictions on or near the Bidston viaduct - The main approach to the Wallasey tunnel from the Wirral is along the M53. Just before the tunnel, at Junction 1 of the M53, there is a viaduct over the A554 roundabout and a railway line. Over the years there have been various schemes to strengthen the viaduct. Sometimes there were weight restrictions with HGVs being diverted so that they bypassed the viaduct. As at 1 April 2018 we are not aware of any special restrictions.

  • Tunnels Byelaws (pdf file). (Merseytravel don't use the common names, they call the Birkenhead tunnel - "Queensway", and the Wallasey tunnel - "Kingsway".)
    If you have a large vehicle or dangerous or unusual load, you can check the byelaws and ring Mersey Tunnels on 0151 236 8602.

  • Learner drivers may use the Tunnels, but obviously you should not drive through unless you are competent and accompanied.

  • Closures - There are frequent closures - overnight or over a weekend - of the Birkenhead Tunnel and one of the two tubes of the Wallasey Tunnel. When one of the tubes of the Wallasey tunnel is closed, then HGVs may not be allowed to use the remaining tube. Details of closures

  • TOLLS from 1 April 2018
    No toll
  • Motorbikes without a sidecar don't pay (there is a space without a toll barrier, on the left hand end of the line of toll booths).
  • 1.80 each way (class 1)
  • Cars
  • Mini buses (seating capacity of less than 9 persons)
  • Light Goods Vehicles (no more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) and no trailer.

    3.60 each way (class 2)
  • Cars with a trailer
  • Buses (Vehicles with seating capacity for 9 or more persons) with 2 axles
  • Light Goods Vehicles (no more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) and with a trailer
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 2 axles.

    5.40 each way (class 3)
  • Buses (Vehicles with seating capacity for 9 or more persons) with more than 2 axles
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 3 axles.

    7.20 each way (class 4)
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes gross weight) with 4 or more axles.
  • Where to pay?   There are no Toll barriers on the Liverpool side. You pay on the Wirral side on entry or exit. Most drivers pay by throwing the toll into the collection basket. If you have not got the correct money, there are a few manned booths. Having got the money from the collector you used to have to throw the toll in a basket, but from late 2017 they changed the system and the barrier should raise automatically.

  • Toll machine baskets, these frequently reject or undercount the coins and the machine then demands that you throw more money in. The pressure to give more money is great as there may be a queue of vehicles behind you and drivers who meekly accept the highway robbery of tolls and the delays caused by tolls, seem to get quite angry with their fellow drivers rather than with the system. We suggest that you don't throw more money in. Instead first of all check the rejected coins hopper, and if there are coins there then try putting them in again. If this does not work or there are no rejected coins and you are sure that you put the correct money in, then press the button for help and refuse to give them more money.

  • Receipts. The Tunnels do not give receipts for tolls (and in any case there is no VAT).

  • 'Fast' Tag is used by some drivers. You get a 'discount' but have to pay monthly in advance by standing order.
    If you pay by Tag the tolls are reduced to 1.20 for class 1, 2.40 for class 2, 3.60 for class 3, and 4.80 for class 4.
    From 1 April 2018 there was a new category of Tag toll for vehbicles in class 1, the toll is 1.00 from 7 pm to 6.59 am and all day on Sundays.
    You are given a transponder (tag) that opens the toll barrier and reduces your pre paid credit. The transponder (tag) is free, but if it is lost or stolen there is a 30 charge from Merseytravel.
    Users of the Fast Tag system were at last able to get a breakdown of individual journeys starting from around the end of 2005.

  • Disabled Drivers- there are concessions available. They have to be applied for in advance and the driver is issued with a "Fast Tag" which is credited for so many journeys in the year. (The driver has to use a manned toll booth, rather than an automatic one as Merseytravel check that the disabled person is in the vehicle.) The number of journeys allowed is higher for residents of Merseyside.

  • Mersey Tunnels phone number is 0151 330 1005 from 2017. There is a separate number for 'Fast' Tag enquiries - 0151 330 1004.

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