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 will last for approximately 3 weeks. This phase includes work on:

  • A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge). Initial removal of booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout.
  • A282 northbound (including 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.

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.

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
  • 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

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 will take place on the A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge), A282 northbound (including Dartford tunnels) and Junction 31 on the M25 (clockwise).

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 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 we will control the traffic approaching the northbound tunnels to maintain safety. This will be done by using the existing barriers to stop non-compliant traffic from entering the tunnels. Non-compliant vehicles include over-height vehicles, or dangerous goods vehicles, which have failed to report at the designated marshalling area.Our advice for large goods vehicles and fleet managers provides further information about lane disciplines and signage.

On the southbound carriageway, the barriers will be removed more quickly. 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 will last for approximately 3 weeks. This phase includes work on:

  • A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge). Initial removal of booths and plaza and construction of a temporary road layout.
  • A282 northbound (including 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.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Friday 28 NovemberOvernight work (11pm - 6am)Three lanes closed on A282 southbound (QEII Bridge). Entry slip road closed on M25 (clockwise) Junction 31. Diversions in place via M25 Junction 30.N/A
Saturday 29 NovemberDaytime work (6am - 10pm)Four charging booths closed A282 southbound (QEII Bridge).N/A
Saturday 29 NovemberOvernight work (10pm - 6am)Three lanes closed A282 southbound (QEII Bridge). Entry slip road closed on M25 (clockwise) Junction 31. Diversions in place via M25 Junction 30.N/A
Saturday 29 NovemberOvernight work (11.30pm - 6am)Main carriageway (including both tunnels) closed on A282 northbound from Junction 2 (A2) to Junction 31 (A1306). Diversions in place to send drivers via either M25 Junction 2, A2 westbound, Blackwall Tunnel northbound and A13 eastbound to re-join the M25 at Junction 30 or the M25 clockwise.N/A
Sunday 30 NovemberDaytime work (6am to 10pm)Four charging booths closed on A282 southbound (QEII Bridge). A282 northbound running through temporary road layout.N/A
Sunday 30 NovemberOvernight work (11.30pm to 5.30am)A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge) closed from Junction 30 (A13) to Junction 2 (A2). Diversions in place to send drivers via either M25 Junction 30, A13 westbound, Blackwall Tunnel southbound and the A2 eastbound to re-join the M25 at Junction 2 or the M25 anticlockwise. Entry slip road closed on M25 (clockwise) Junction 31. Diversions in place via M25 Junction 30.N/A
From Monday 1 December – late December24 hours (from 5.30am on Monday 1 December)A282 northbound east and west tunnels open. Temporary road layout will be in place and traffic will continue to travel through the existing barriers, operating in ‘nodding mode’ to retain tunnel safety control. A282 southbound (QEII Bridge) running through a temporary road alignment; no ‘nodding' barriers required to manage traffic flow.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.

Will there be diversions?

During the full closures of the A282 and Junction 31 entry slip road the following diversions will be in place and will be clearly signposted.

M25 (clockwise) Junction 31 entry slip road closures - Diversions in place via M25 Junction 30. Diversions in place to send drivers via the Junction 31 to Junction 30 link road northbound to M25 Junction 30 to re-join the M25 clockwise.

Diversion map

A282 southbound (QEII Bridge) closures - Diversions in place to send drivers via either M25 Junction 30, A13 westbound, Blackwall Tunnel southbound and the A2 eastbound to re-join the M25 at Junction 2 or the M25 anti-clockwise.

Diversion map

A282 northbound (Dartford Tunnel) closures - Diversions in place to send drivers via either M25 Junction 2, A2 westbound, Blackwall Tunnel northbound and A13 eastbound to re-join the M25 at Junction 30 or the M25 clockwise.

Diversion map

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