JUST six per cent of Guardian readers are willing to pay £35 to register to use the new Mersey Gateway bridge, a poll has revealed.

Out of 932 votes, fifty-eight per cent said they will refuse to pay the tolls, while 30 per cent said they’re not happy about the tolls but have no choice in paying them.

Motorists can pay £35 to register to use the Mersey Gateway, or pay a one-off £2 toll within 24 hours of using the bridge.

While Halton residents living in property bands below G will be exempt from the charge, everyone else will have to pay – leaving commuters heading between mid Cheshire and Merseyside facing hefty bills.

Readers commenting on the Guardian’s Facebook page gave the charge an overwhelming thumbs down.

Dougie Martin said: “The bridges should be free. People work across the bridge – taking income off them is so wrong.”

Stephen Lowe suggested he would use the M6 instead, with other drivers agreeing.

Chris Hutchin said: “I know that I will be driving further and causing more pollution, but the journey time will be the same and I will be better off using the M6.”

The new bridge, which crosses the River Mersey between Widnes and Runcorn, could open as early as this month.

At the same time, the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will close for 12 months for essential repairs, before both bridges will be tolled once fully open.

Cllr James Pearson, Conservative Cheshire West and Chester Council member for Davenham and Moulton, is not surprised by the poll’s results.

He told the Guardian: “I was rather miffed that the annual pass for Halton residents did not extend to Weaver Vale and Warrington – which is probably a large part of the reason why we lost those seats in the General Election.

“My wife works in Liverpool, she commutes from Northwich and you would have thought the bridge would be helpful, but the toll will push people onto the M6.

“My biggest concern is with the congestion at junction 19 of the M6. The Highways Agency has not yet finished improvements on that stretch of road, and it really needs finishing as soon as possible.”

Last week Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale, wrote to George Osborne, former Tatton MP and current London Evening Standard editor, asking for help in challenging the bridge tolls after he had promised that CWAC residents would be exempt from the charge while serving as chancellor.