Drivers will see an end to tolls on the Severn Crossings at the end of 2018, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has announced.
The bridges are used by more than 25 million vehicles each year, saving significant travel time and distance for commuters and drivers using the M4 motorway.
However, the tolls on both Severn Crossings have been seen as an economic and symbolic barrier to Wales’ future prosperity.
The abolition of the tolls is estimated to boost the economy of South Wales by around £100 million a year and the average motorist who uses the crossing every day could save more than £1,400 per year.
Cairns said: “The decision to abolish the Severn tolls next year sends a powerful message to businesses, commuters and tourists alike that the UK Government is committed to strengthening the Welsh economy.
“By ending tolls for the 25 million annual journeys between two nations we will strengthen the links between communities and help to transform the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the South West of England.”
Ian Gallagher, head of policy for South West and Wales Freight Transport Association, added: “This announcement today is excellent news for the growth of the Welsh and South West economies, a real shot in the arm for those businesses and commuters who use the bridges on a daily basis.
“Removal of the tolls altogether has been a long-term policy position for the Freight Transport Association, with members on both side of the bridges incurring some of the highest tolls charges in the UK, money better spent on upskilling, recruitment and purchasing greener vehicles.”
When the bridges come under public ownership, they will be run by Highways England. Previously it has been run by Severn River Crossing plc.