Earlier this year a landslip forced authorities to close the A431 between Bath and Bristol with the permanent repair, costing £1.5 million to be complete by the end of 2014. As a result there is now a 14-mile detour due to the closed road.
A 62-year-old Michael Watts saw a business opportunity there and built a private toll road across a field, allowing drivers to avoid a 14-mile detour. The dirt road is just 465 metres long, 7 metres wide and has a two-way traffic.
To open the road Mr. Watts spent £150,000 for construction of the road and the operating cost is around £1,000 each day, meaning he will spend around £150,000 on operating and maintenance costs if he plans to keep it open until December, when the A432 is scheduled to re-open.
To make the business viable, he charges £2 for each car and £1 for motorbikes for a one-way trip.
Reportedly 7,000 people a day use the A431, and Mr. Watts hopes to get just over 10% of them, to make the business work out for him financially. Since opening the road on Friday the road has already seen around 2,000 cars over the weekend.
Motorists should be happy, though officials say the road does not have planning permission or safety certificates and are warning motorists to think twice before paying the toll.