Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Current

Start date:   April 2014
End date:  Spring 2015

Type:   Improvement Scheme
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Improvement Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (generally with value <£10m)

Cost:  £48 million to £62 million

Managed by:   Area 5



Advanced works are well underway in preparation for the launch of Dart Charge in late November 2014.

Signage update

We are continuing to install new signage in a variety of locations surrounding the crossing, including the M25, M20, A282, A2, A13, and local authority roads on either side of the crossing.

Off-carriageway works

We are undertaking work to develop the Kent Marshalling Area (KMA) - the holding area where abnormal loads or vehicles carrying dangerous goods are checked before crossing.

We are also carrying out other work away from the road itself, including:

  • ­ roundabout realignments and changes to entry/exit slip roads.
  •  site clearance
  •  lighting

Time lapse photography

We have installed time lapse photography equipment at the crossing so we can track the significant physical changes taking place between now and spring 2015.

One camera has been installed at the top of the south-east pylon, almost 500 feet above ground and offers a fantastic view of the existing plaza and road layout arrangement.

The second camera is positioned on top of the operational control room and captures close-up views of the northbound plaza and southbound charging gantries.

Footage will be used to raise public awareness of Dart Charge and to enable the project team to view and assess the progress with the construction.

View our first timelapse video capturing the gantry installation

What is happening?

We are changing the way you pay the Dartford crossing charge. You will no longer pay at the barriers; instead you'll be able to pay in advance, or by midnight the day after crossing. The new scheme is known as Dart Charge - view full details on our news page.

Implementing Dart Charge will require substantial change to the operation of the Dartford crossing and to the existing road layout.

When and where is this happening?

Advanced works are now well underway to prepare for the introduction of Dart Charge in late November 2014.

Main construction work will then begin after the introduction of Dart Charge to remove the existing payment booths and change the road layout. This work will be completed by spring 2015.

The crossing spans the River Thames between Dartford and Thurrock, approximately 16 miles east of central London, and forms a trunk road link (the A282) in the M25 London orbital motorway. This route is an important part of the strategic road network and forms a gateway to the major ports on the Kent and Essex coasts.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The crossing sees around 50 million vehicle crossings each year. This is much higher than it was originally designed to carry, leading to congestion problems. The government has made improving the performance of the crossing a priority. Commitments have been made to reduce current levels of congestion and improve traffic flow at the crossing both now and in the future.

As part of this, a Road User Charge was introduced in 2003 to help manage the high demand for use of the crossing. Removing the need to stop and pay at the barriers will further help to improve traffic flow.

Initial set-up costs for the scheme are estimated to be within the range of £48 million - £62 million. This includes the estimated costs for:

  • vehicle detection, charging and enforcement management services
  • road infrastructure
  • traffic management and safety works

It also includes the Highways Agency internal project costs.

The Highways Agency has awarded the main contract for vehicle detection, charging and enforcement management services to sanef. If this contract extends to its maximum term of 10 years the full potential value of the services delivered within it will be up to £367 million. The design and implementation element of this is included in the total set-up cost estimate above.

How will the scheme be carried out?

While maintaining safety, and use of the crossing, we will:

  • reconfigure the road layout to provide four traffic lanes in both directions
  • remove the plaza and payment booths
  • introduce new traffic control measures for restricted vehicles approaching the northbound tunnels

Due to the extent of the work required, it will not be possible to remove the existing layout immediately. Work will take place overnight where possible to minimise disruption to road users. The construction work is due to be completed by spring 2015. Traffic management arrangements, including temporary speed limits, will be in place throughout the works and all lane layouts, speed limits and controls will be clearly signed.

Throughout the construction period we will control traffic approaching the northbound tunnels to maintain safety. We will mirror the new road layout and operations as early as possible during construction, to help you get used to the new layout.

Dart Charge will be operational during the construction phase, so you will no longer be able to pay at a barrier as you cross.

What are the benefits?

Once the new arrangements are fully implemented drivers will not have to stop at the barriers to pay. This will reduce congestion and ease traffic flow. 

How do I find out more information ?

More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

Find out more about the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing.

Details of scheduled road works are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Details of scheduled roadworks are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Will there be roadworks?

Yes, roadworks are required to carry out these works safely, and advance construction works are currently underway.

How will you manage traffic?

Motorists may also notice some daytime lane restrictions on the approaches to the M25 Junction 1a Roundabout. These are not expected to cause significant disruption.

Overnight, we will continue to use lane closures on the M25 and A282 to carry out signage work, with some short term closures of the slip roads in the area where necessary.

Carriageway works are largely taking place overnight, when traffic levels are at their lowest.

Where possible, works will be completed using lane closures, although on some occasions full road/slip road closures may be required to enable us to complete this work safely.

Will there be diversions?

When full road closures, or slip road closures are required, diversions will be in place and will be clearly signposted.

Gantries in place30 May 2014
Dart Charge account registration openingOctober 2014
Dart Charge new payment arrangements go liveNovember 2014
Removal of plaza and barriers beginsNovember 2014
Construction work completedSpring 2015


Dartford crossing remote payment scheme - Dart Charge leaflet
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