When the A431 between Bath and Bristol was closed for repairs, creating an almost hour long 14 mile detour, a conversation in a local pub between businessman, Mike Watts, and a local farmer lead to a dramatic solution that would effectively reopen the route. They decided to build a toll road through one of the famer’s fields. Mike Watts opened his private road on 1 August 2014, the UK’s first new privately run toll road in over a century.
The 365 metre long road cost £150,000 to build, and another £150,000 to maintain including manning a security booth, modified into a toll booth, provided by UK Kiosks. Charging £2 a time to use his bypass, with a view to recouping his costs, Mike chose the UK Kiosks’ security booth as a secure, cost-effective and versatile toll booth option. The 2.7m x 1.5m security booth was fitted with side-sliding windows to communicate easily with drivers, security drawers for the safekeeping of money and service counters and could comfortably accommodate two toll operators working around the clock.
Security Booth - publicity and success
From the outset, the toll road and its security booth received a lot of publicity. Mike Watts explained: “We’ve had people see us on TV in Canada, the Caribbean, Bahrain, Italy, Germany, the US, Australia … They came over the road not because they needed to, but because they heard about this bloke who built a toll road. We called them ‘toll tourists’.”
Mike was also delighted with the UK Kiosks' security booth as his testimonial confirms:
"My heartfelt thanks to UK Kiosks for providing me with the most perfect booth for our 'Toll Booth' for the duration of the temporary private Kelston Toll Road which was built to bypass the closure of the A431 between Bath and Bristol from 1 August - 17 November 2014.
The pictures of the security booth certainly looked good in all the local, national and international media coverage and many toll road users commented on how professional the unit looked. The kiosk was used 24 hours a day seven days a week, had two toll operators inside it at all times and provided us with great shelter and security. The delivery and collection service was carried out faultlessly and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending UK Kiosks to anyone considering buying or hiring a security booth or kiosk."
(Image: Michael Lloyd)
The road closed on 17 November 2014, when the A431 reopened a few weeks ahead of schedule. A total of 163,000 crossings were made.