Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Planned

Start date:   June 2011
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


What is happening?

We are changing how you pay to use the Dartford - Thurrock River Crossing. We are introducing Dart Charge where, instead of stopping at the barriers, you will pay online, by text, at retail outlets or over the phone. You will be able to pay in advance or before midnight the day after crossing.

When and where is this happening?

We plan to introduce remote payment during October 2014. The construction work is due to 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 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.

In the longer term, options for a third crossing are under consideration, and have been the subject of a Department for Transport (DfT) consultation.

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?

Introduction of the new remote payment arrangements will require substantial changes. While maintaining safety and use of the crossing we will:

  • reconfigure the road layout to provide four open traffic lanes in both directions
  • remove the plaza and payment booths
  • introduce new traffic control measures for vehicles entering 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. Throughout the construction period we will control traffic approaching the northbound tunnels to maintain safety.

In spring 2014 we will start a public information campaign to help everyone understand the changes we will be making. This will include information on:

  • the transition to the new remote payment arrangements
  • road layout changes
  • how to pay the crossing charge
  • how to register for pre-pay accounts
  • the planned construction works at and on the approach to the crossing


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.

Pre-construction works startMarch 2014
Public information campaign beginsApril 2014
Systen build and testing completedAugust 2014
New remote payment methods and accounts go liveSeptember 2014
Construction works to remove the plaza and barriers beginsOctober 2014
Post-construction works completedSpring 2015