Timetable set out for Dartford Crossing toll booth removal
By Kyle Lindsay
Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 13:09
Opens at the end of the month
More details announced
With the launch of Dart Charge set for the end of this month (November), more details have been announced about how the Dartford Crossing payment booths will be removed.
Work to remove the booths and improve the road layout on approach to the crossing will begin on Friday 28 November – the same weekend the new payment arrangements go live.
Highways Agency project director Nigel Gray said: “The payment booths have been part of the Dartford landscape since 1963 but they contribute to congestion and cause delays. That’s why they are being removed and we are introducing a new payment system called Dart Charge. From 30 November drivers will no longer pay at the booths. Instead they will pay in advance or by midnight the day after crossing, helping to speed up journeys.”
Under Dart Charge, drivers will no longer stop at a barrier to pay the charge. Instead, they will pay online, by phone, by post or in one of thousands of payzone retail outlets. Last week, the Highways Agency announced a new advertising campaign, part of a £1.1 million information campaign to help people prepare for the changes. Dart Charge will come into effect at 6am on Sunday 30 November, and the last cash payment will be taken at the Crossing around 10pm on Saturday 29 November.
The new payment arrangements will signal the start of major construction work to improve the road layout at the Crossing with 27 lanes of traffic reduced to 4 in each direction and a new safety system of traffic signals and barriers on the approach to the tunnels northbound, which will prevent over-height vehicles from entering the tunnels, hold traffic in case of an incident or congestion in the tunnel, and allow the safe release of vehicles under escort (eg hazardous loads).
The roadworks will continue until spring 2015 when drivers will feel the full benefit of the changes through quicker journey times. Until then drivers can expect some delays but all work is being planned to minimise disruption. During construction temporary speed limits and road layouts will be in use so drivers should follow instructions on road signs.