Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Current


Start date:   April 2014
End date:  Summer 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 www​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​n​e​w​s​/​d​a​r​t​-​c​h​a​r​g​e​-​d​a​r​t​f​o​r​d​-​c​r​o​s​s​i​n​g​-​r​e​m​o​t​e​-​p​a​y​m​ent

Progress

The road layout on the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound) has already changed significantly. The lanes divide just after the junction 1a exit slip road. Lanes 1 and 2 (left hand lanes) use the west tunnel while lanes 3 and 4 (right hand lanes) use the east tunnel. Vehicles joining at junction 1a can only access lanes 1 and 2 and use the west tunnel, which has a height restriction of 4.8m.

At present all four lanes pass through the old southbound booths and plaza. Barriers automatically lift as a vehicle approaches to maintain safety and manage traffic approaching the tunnels. The lanes then pass around the construction area and arrive at the tunnel entrances.

From 13 June the final northbound road layout will be in place. Instead of passing through the old southbound booths and plaza vehicles will pass through a new traffic safety system, which allows us 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

We previously performed these tasks when vehicles stopped at the payment booths.

From 13 June, we also begin work to introduce the final southbound road layout, for traffic coming off the QEII Bridge. This includes removal of the remaining payment barriers and booths and is expected to be complete by August.

Find out more:

  • watch a video showing how the new system works
  • download our leaflet about the new traffic safety system
  • download our leaflet for goods vehicle drivers about tunnel restrictions and what lane or route to take

 

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 will be in operation.

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 can 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 news page.

While maintaining safety and use of the crossing we are:

reconfiguring the road layout to provide four traffic lanes in both directionsremoving the plaza and payment booths introducing a new traffic safety system for restricted vehicles approaching the northbound tunnels

 

 

When and where is this happening?

Major road works are well underway and will continue until August 2015.

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.

The main works are taking place on the A282 southbound (including the 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. 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?

Due to the extent of the work required, it will take time to change the existing road layout. Traffic management arrangements, including temporary speed limits and lane restrictions are in place throughout the works. All lane layouts, speed limits and controls are clearly signed.

On the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound) barriers are currently operating in ‘nodding mode’ (lifting automatically as a vehicle approaches) to retain tunnel safety control. They are also being used to hold traffic in the event of an incident or congestion in the tunnels, prevent restricted vehicles from entering the tunnels and to allow the safe release of vehicles using the Crossing under escort. From 13 June a new traffic safety system will be in operation to perform this job.

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

What are the benefits?

The new payment arrangements and the new road layout will reduce congestion and ease traffic flow. The full benefits of the scheme will be realised in summer 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 third phase of work is expected to begin 13 June and is due to be completed by August 2015. During this phase the final northbound road layout, including the new traffic safety system, will be in place and used by traffic. Work then takes place to remove the remaining old payment barriers and booths and introduce the final southbound road layout that traffic will drive through when coming off the QEII Bridge.

The final stage of work is on areas either side of the carriageways and will not impact on traffic. This is expected to be complete later in the summer.

How will you manage traffic?

During roadworks reduced speed limits apply and are clearly signed and enforced. On the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound) barriers will continue to operate in ‘nodding mode’ (lifting automatically as a vehicle approaches) until 13 June to retain tunnel safety control.

From 13 June a new traffic safety system will identify, stop and turnaround vehicles that may pose a safety risk (eg if they are oversized or carrying dangerous loads) to prevent them entering the tunnels. It will also enable dangerous goods vehicles to be safely escorted through the tunnels and stop vehicles entering the tunnels in the event of an incident.

Will there be diversions?

Tunnel closures will be required overnight during the weekend of Friday 12 to Sunday 14 June to introduce the new system. But one tunnel will always remain open at all times.

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June, the A282 northbound junction 1a entry slip road will be closed overnight. Clearly signed diversions will direct traffic to join the A282 northbound via junction 1b instead.

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 completedLate June 2015
Southbound on-road construction work completedAugust 2015
Off-road and landscaping work completedLate summer 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.

Traffic safety system

A new traffic safety system will operate on the A282 northbound (approaching the Dartford tunnels) from 13 June. Watch our video to see how it will operate and how non-compliant vehicles will be extracted.