Dartford Crossing Remote Payment Scheme

Project status:   Current


Start date:   April 2014
End date:  Late September 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 main works to introduce Dart Charge and a new road layout at the Dartford Crossing is now complete.

All of the old payment booths and plaza have been removed now and a new traffic safety system is in operation on the northbound carriageway, 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.

Under the new road layout on the approach to the Dartford tunnels (A282 northbound) the lanes divide at junction 1a. Vehicles in lanes 1 and 2 (left hand lanes) can only use the west tunnel while vehicles in lanes 3 and 4 (right hand lanes) can only 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. For more information on lane and tunnel restrictions, please read section ‘Goods vehicles’ below.

Landscaping work will continue until the end of September on areas either side of the carriageways but this work will not have a significant impact on traffic. Some on road restrictions will be required overnight to enable the works to be completed.

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.

We have removed the old payment booths and plaza, introduced a new traffic safety system and reconfigured the road layout on both the southbound and northbound carriageways.

When and where is this happening?

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.

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?

The main works to introduce a new road layout at the crossing are now complete. The final phase of work is on areas either side of the carriageways and will not have a significant impact on traffic. This is expected to be complete by the end of September.

What are the benefits?

The new payment arrangements and the new road layout have already led to significant improvements in journey times at the crossing.

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?

The main works to introduce the new road layout at the crossing areas are now complete. The final phase of work is on areas either side of the main carriageways and will not have a significant impact on traffic.

How will you manage traffic?

Some on road restrictions will be required overnight to enable the works to be completed. This is expected to be complete by the end of September.

Will there be diversions?

Minor diversions will be in place overnight when work is required on the slip roads. The diversion routes will be clearly signed.

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 completed14 June 2015
Southbound on-road construction work completed26 July 2015
Off-road and landscaping work completedLate September 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 is now in operation on the A282 northbound (approaching the Dartford tunnels). Watch our video to see how it will operate and how non-compliant vehicles will be extracted from the approach to the tunnels.