This road project has now been completed. This page will be available for 6 months from the date of scheme completion, after which time you will only be able to access this information on The National Archive version of this page.

Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Completed


Start date:   April 2014
End date:  February 2016


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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Where was the project located?

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.

Works on the scheme began in April 2014 and were completed in February 2016.

Why was the scheme needed?

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. Dart Charge was introduced in November 2014 to help further ease congestion and improve traffic flow by removing the need for drivers to stop and pay at the barriers.

Under Dart Charge instead of paying at the barriers drivers pay the crossing charge Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing. Paying Dart Charge is easy. Drivers can pay online, by phone, at Payzone retail outlets or in advance by post. By setting up a pre-pay account drivers can save up to a third on every crossing - view full details on our collection page.

To support Dart Charge and maximise improvements in traffic flow we needed to remove the old payment booths and plaza, install the new charging gantries and reconfigure the road layout on both the southbound and northbound carriageways including installing a new traffic safety system on the approach to the tunnels.

What work was carried out?

We have successfully transformed the Dartford Crossing:

  • New charging technology and gantries were installed
  • 27 lanes were replaced with four free-flow lanes in each direction
  • The old charging barriers and plazas were removed
  • A new traffic safety system was installed on the approach to the tunnels

This complex project was delivered while keeping traffic flowing for the drivers of around 150,000 vehicles that use the crossing each day.

The project had an exemplary safety record during construction with no reportable site accidents at any time.

Time lapse photography equipment was installed at the crossing to track the significant physical changes that took place during the project. Footage was used to raise public awareness of Dart Charge and to enable the project team to view and assess 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.

How did this benefit road users?

The new payment arrangements and the new road layout have already delivered significant improvements in journey times through the crossing. In autumn 2015, a year on from the start of Dart Charge, journey times were on average around seven minutes quicker southbound and five minutes quicker northbound compared to pre-Dart Charge journey times. This was despite an increase in traffic of 5% (around 2.2 million vehicles).

How do I find out more information ?

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.

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