Swinford Toll Bridge
Swinford Toll Bridge is a privately owned toll bridge south of Eynsham, England that crosses the River Thames just above Eynsham Lock. The bridge, a Georgian structure built of local limestone, was opened in 1769. It replaced a pre-existing ferry and its construction was funded by the Earl of Abingdon. The bridge is governed by its own Act of Parliament. It allows the bridge owner to collect tolls and makes the building of bridges across the river illegal for three miles either way up or down stream from Swinford. By repute, the owners do not pay tax on the revenue from the tolls as a perquisite from King George III. It is one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames upstream of London, the other being Whitchurch Bridge. The bridge carries the road between Farmoor and Eynsham. From 1922 this was classified as the A40 road, but since the Eynsham bypass was completed to carry the A40 in 1936 the Farmoor - Eynsham road has been reclassified as the B4044. In 1835 tolls for pedestrians over Swinford bridge were abolished. Pedal cycles and motorcycles are also exempt from tolls. Other classes of traffic remain subject to tolls, which are £0.05 in the case of cars. Despite this small toll there is (as of 2006 ) a campaign to make it toll-free. Oxfordshire County Council estimates that 10,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. Toll collection causes significant delays and air pollution. An online poll in 2006 on the Witney Gazette website showed that 87.5% of voters want the tolls scrapped. The bridge was put up for sale in 2009 and was sold at auction on the 3rd December for £1.08 million.