Motorists in Dublin will have to continue paying tolls on the East Link bridge when it reverts to the city's ownership at the end of next year.

City councillors voted this evening to agree with a recommendation from officials that a toll remain to provide income for the council.

Private car owners currently pay €1.75 to use the bridge, but the new rate will be decided at a later date.

Councillors were told that the city would have a potential income of €4m if it kept the present toll.

The council will be facing annual maintenance costs of €200,000, as well as unspecified long-term refurbishment costs for the East Link bridge.

At this evening's meeting, some councillors expressed concern at increased traffic for Ringsend and Irishtown if the tolls were lifted. 

It is believed that 22 staff currently employed on the toll booths will keep their jobs when the council appoints a contractor to operate the facility from January 2016.

The toll income is presently split between the city council, which gets nearly 17% or €600,000, Dublin Port Company which gets 25%, while over 58% goes to Dutch operating company DIF.

The bridge will revert to full ownership of the council in December 2015 under the original agreement made in 1983 between the council, the port company and the company that became East Link.