Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Current


Start date:   April 2014
End date:  Late January 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

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Looking for information about Dart Charge?

Pay Dart Charge or set up a Dart Charge account at www​.gov​.uk/​p​a​y​-​d​a​r​t​f​o​r​d​-​c​r​o​s​s​i​n​g​-​c​h​a​rge

Find out more about Dart Charge at https://​www​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​/​d​a​r​t​-​c​h​a​rge

Progress

Dart Charge and the new road layout continue to improve journey times through the crossing. The latest data shows that average journeys times across the day are almost seven minutes quicker southbound and almost five minutes quicker northbound despite an increase in traffic of almost five per cent since we introduced Dart Charge.

We have now completed the main work to introduce Dart Charge and a new road layout at the Dartford Crossing. We plan to complete minor works to gantries, barriers, signals and gates by the end of January.

We have replaced 27 lanes with four in each direction, installed new charging gantries and removed the old payment booths and plaza. We installed a new traffic safety system on the approach to the tunnels to:

  • identify vehicles that may pose a safety risk, for example because they are oversized or carrying dangerous loads
  • safely escort such vehicles through the tunnel – or turn them around
  • stop vehicles entering the tunnels in the event of an incident
  • prevent traffic from queuing in the tunnel during periods of congestion by releasing traffic in a gradual and phased manner. This is known as metering

We demolished part of the southbound plaza and resurfaced the carriageway on the weekend before Dart Charge went live. This meant we were able to route traffic around the main construction site, delivering immediate journey time savings for drivers from the moment Dart Charge began on 30 November 2014.

Find out more by watching a video explaining how the Crossing was transformed

 

Using the new road layout

Help us to keep traffic flowing at the crossing:

  • pay attention to road signs
  • keep within speed limits
  • watch out for traffic signals and be prepared to stop if a red light shows.

Average speed cameras and traffic light cameras are in operation.

Find out more:

  • download our leaflet about the new traffic safety system
  • watch a video showing how the new system works

 

Goods vehicles

Be sure to use the correct lane – if you are in the wrong lane you could get a fine and points on your licence. Our leaflet Information for drivers of goods vehicles provides further information about the correct route or lane to take.

 

Hazardous or abnormal loads

When travelling on the A282 Northbound, exit at Junction 1a and follow the ‘hollow diamond’ symbol to the vehicle marshalling area to be checked before using the tunnels.

 

Oversized vehicles

When travelling northbound, if your vehicle:

  • is between 4.8 and 5 metres high use lanes 3 or 4 to approach the east tunnel – you can no longer join at junction 1a and will need to use junction 1b instead
  • is taller than 5 metres, do not attempt to use the tunnels – use another route
  • is wider than 2.75m or longer than 18.75m, exit at junction 1a and follow the ‘hollow diamond’ symbol to the vehicle marshalling area to be checked before using the tunnels

Get into the correct lane promptly after junction 2 – you can’t change lanes after junction 1a.

What is happening?

The way you pay the Dartford Crossing charge has changed. You no longer pay at the barriers; instead you need to pay Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing - view full details on our collection page.

We have removed the old payment booths and plaza, installed the new charging gantries and reconfigured the road layout on both the southbound and northbound carriageways including installing a new traffic safety system on the approach to the tunnels.

 

When and where is this happening?

The crossing spans the River Thames between Dartford and Thurrock, approximately 16 miles east of central London, and forms a trunk road link (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. A Road User Charge was introduced in 2003 to help manage the high demand for use of the crossing. The introduction of Dart Charge – removing the need to stop and pay at the barriers – is intended to 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 services
  • road infrastructure changes
  • traffic management and safety works
  • Highways England internal project costs

The main contract for vehicle detection, charging and enforcement management services was awarded to sanef. If this contract extends to its maximum terms of 10 years the full potential value of the services delivered within it will be up to £367 million.

How will the scheme be carried out?

The main works to introduce Dart Charge and a new road layout at the crossing are now complete. Some minor works to gantries, barriers, signals and gates continue and are planned to be complete by the end of January.

What are the benefits?

The new payment arrangements and the new road layout have already delivered significant improvements in journey times through the crossing. Latest data shows that compared to before Dart Charge average journeys times across the day are almost seven minutes quicker southbound and almost five minutes quicker northbound despite an increase in traffic of almost five per cent.

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.

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 Highways England by emailing info@​highwaysengland.​co.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

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?

We have now completed the main works to introduce Dart Charge and a new road layout at the crossing. Some minor works to gantries, barriers, signals and gates continue and we plan to be complete these by the end of January.

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.

How will you manage traffic?

Some on-road restrictions will be required overnight to complete the work. These will be clearly signed and publicised in advance.

Will there be diversions?

Minor diversions may be required overnight. Diversion routes will be clearly signed and publicised in advance.

ActivityDate
Gantries in place30 May 2014
Dart Charge account registration opening5 November 2014
Roadworks to remove the booths and change the road layout begins28 November 2014
Dart Charge new payment arrangements go live30 November 2014
Northbound on-road construction work completed14 June 2015
Southbound on-road construction work completed26 July 2015
Final works completeLate January 2015

Leaflet

Dartford Crossing traffic safety system
This document is available from GOV.UK
Dart Charge foreign language booklet
This document is available from GOV.UK:
Important information for drivers of goods vehicles
This document is available from GOV.UK:
Dartford crossing remote payment scheme - Dart Charge leaflet
This document is available from GOV.UK:

Plan

Dartford crossing remote payment scheme - road layouts during roadworks
An overview of the road layouts for each phase of work

Time lapse photography

Time lapse photography equipment is installed at the crossing to track the significant physical changes taking place up to summer 2015. Footage is being used to raise public awareness of Dart Charge and to enable the project team to view and assess the progress with the construction.

Watch our first timelapse video capturing the charging gantry installation.

Watch our second timelapse video capturing initial work on the A282 southbound to remove some of the booths and construct a temporary road layout.

Watch our third timelapse video capturing work on the A282 northbound to remove the old payment booths to enable us to begin the installation of new traffic management measures.

Watch our final timelapse video capturing the full transformation of the crossing.

Traffic safety system

A new traffic safety system is now in operation on the A282 northbound (approaching the Dartford tunnels). Watch our video to see how it will operate and how non-compliant vehicles will be extracted from the approach to the tunnels.