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

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Progress

Main roadworks

The first phase of work commenced on Friday 28 November and is due to be completed on 20 December. This phase has included work on:

  • A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge). Initial removal of booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout.
  • A282 northbound (approaching Dartford tunnels). Initial removal of some of the booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout. Widening of some lanes to accommodate over-sized vehicles.
  • M25 (clockwise) Junction 31 entry slip road closure to enable safe working on the QEII Bridge.

The second phase of work will commence at 10pm on Saturday 20 December and is due to last for approximately 3 months, finishing in late March 2015. This phase includes further work on the A282 northbound (approaching Dartford tunnels) to remove the booths and plaza and install new traffic management measures.

Signage update

New and modified signs and signals have been installed and new sign faces uncovered to help drivers understand what they need to do.

Additional signage displaying vehicle height restrictions for the Dartford tunnels will be unveiled overnight on 20 December. Signs will clearly show the height restrictions of 4.8m for the west tunnel, accessed by lanes 1 and 2 (left-hand lanes) and 5.0m for the east tunnel, accessed by lanes 3 and 4 (right-hand lanes).

Off-carriageway works

Work to develop the Kent Marshalling Area (KMA) – the holding area where abnormal loads or vehicles carrying dangerous goods vehicles are checked before crossing – is now complete. The vehicle storage capacity has been increased and new marshalling facilities have been installed.

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
  • communication and data cable installation
  • emergency vehicle access and crossover points.

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.

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

What is happening?

The way you pay the Dartford crossing charge has changed. You can no longer pay at the barriers; instead you need 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?

Major improvement works are underway and will continue until 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.

The main works are taking place on the A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge), A282 northbound (including the approaches to the Dartford tunnels).

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
  • install new traffic management measures on the northbound approach to the tunnels.

Due to the extent of the work required, it will not be possible to change the existing layout immediately. Traffic management arrangements, including temporary speed limits and lane restrictions will be in place throughout the works. All lane layouts, speed limits and controls will be clearly signed. 

Throughout the construction period,on the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound), barriers will continue to operate in ‘nodding mode’ (lifting automatically as a vehicle approaches) to retain tunnel safety control. From early 2015 a new system of traffic signals and barriers will be in place to do this. Until then, existing barriers will continue to be used to: hold traffic in the event of an incident or congestion in the tunnels; prevent over-height vehicles from entering the tunnels; and, to allow the safe release of vehicles using the Crossing under escort. Our advice for large goods vehicles and fleet managers provides further information about lane disciplines and signage.

On the southbound carriageway, the barriers have been removed.. This is because the QEII Bridge is subject to fewer vehicle-type restrictions than the tunnels.

We will mirror the final road layout and operations as early as possible during construction, to help you get used to the new layout.

What are the benefits?

The new payment arrangements and the improved road layout will reduce congestion and ease traffic flow. The full benefits of the scheme will be realised in spring 2015 when the main roadworks are complete.

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.

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.

Main roadworks

There are four phases of roadworks, each requiring different traffic management arrangements. An overview of the road layouts for each phase of work are outlined in the documents below.

The first phase of work commenced on Friday 28 November and is due to be completed on 20 December. This phase has included work on:

  • A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge). Initial removal of booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout.
  • A282 northbound (approaching Dartford tunnels). Initial removal of some of the booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout. Widening of some lanes to accommodate over-sized vehicles.
  • M25 (clockwise) Junction 31 entry slip road entry slip road closure to enable safe working on the QEII Bridge.

The second phase of work will commence at 10pm on Saturday 20 December and is due to last for approximately 3 months, finishing in late March 2015. This phase includes further work on the A282 northbound (approaching Dartford tunnels) to remove the booths and plaza and install new traffic management measures.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 DecemberOvernight work (10pm to 1am)A282 northbound Junction 1a closed. Diversions in place and signed via the Junction 1a exit slip road, Junction 1a roundabout and Junction 1a entry slip road. A282 southbound continuing to run through temporary road alignment.N/A
Sunday 21 DecemberEarly morning work (1am to 6am)Please see the 'Will there be diversions?' section below for full details.N/A
From Sunday 21 December 2014 – late March 201524 hours (from 6am on Sunday 21 December)Please see the 'Will there be diversions?' section below for full details.N/A

How will you manage traffic?

During these works reduced speed limits will apply and will be clearly signed and enforced. Police will be on site regularly, to encourage safe driver behaviour.

On the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound), barriers will continue to operate in ‘nodding mode’ (lifting automatically as a vehicle approaches) to retain tunnel safety control. From early 2015 a new system of traffic signals and barriers will be in place to do this. Until then, existing barriers will continue to be used to: hold traffic in the event of an incident or congestion in the tunnels; prevent over-height vehicles from entering the tunnels; and, to allow the safe release of vehicles using the Crossing under escort.

Lane guidance, restrictions and traffic management

  • Tunnel height restrictions are 4.8m for the west tunnel, accessed by lanes 1 and 2 (left-hand lanes) and 5.0m for the east tunnel, accessed by lanes 3 and 4 (right-hand lanes). Vehicles over 4.8m in height are prohibited from using the Junction 1a northbound slip road and should, if under 5m, divert to Junction 1b. Vehicles joining at Junction 1a will only be able to access lanes 1 and 2 and use the west tunnel, which has a height restriction of 4.8m.
  • Failure to comply with the Junction 1a restriction is an offence and will cause considerable delay as the vehicles are turned away from the crossing. Our advice for large goods vehicles and fleet managers provides further information about lane disciplines and supporting signage.
  • Drivers wishing to exit at M25 anticlockwise Junction 31 should (subject to height) use lanes 1 and 2 and the west tunnel.

Will there be diversions?

On Saturday 20 December, between 10pm and 1am, the following closure and diversion will be in place:

A282 northbound Junction 1a closure. Diversions in place and signed via the Junction 1a exit slip road, Junction 1a roundabout and Junction 1a entry slip road. See diversion route A on the maps tab.

On Sunday 21 December, between 1am and 6am, the following closures and diversions will be in place:

A282 northbound Junction 2 to Junction 1b road (including A282 northbound Junction 2 entry slip road) closed. Diversions in place and signed via the Junction 2 roundabout and link road to Junction 1b where traffic can re-join the main carriageway and proceed towards the Dartford tunnels. See diversion route B on the maps tab.

A2 westbound dedicated link road onto the A282 northbound closure. Diversions in place and signed via the A282 Junction 2 roundabout and link road to Junction 1b where traffic can re-join the main carriageway and proceed towards the Dartford tunnels. See diversion route B on the maps tab.

From Sunday 21 December, occasional overnight slip road closures will be required, with local diversions in place and clearly signed.

A282 northbound Junction 1a entry slip road closures. Diversions in place via the A282 southbound to Junction 1b, then onto the A282 Northbound main carriageway. See diversion route C on the maps tab.

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
On-road construction work completedSpring 2015

Leaflet

Dartford Crossing Improvements - Advice for drivers of goods vehicles and fleet managers
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