It's a route used by more than a hundred thousand drivers a day. The Dartford Crossing is one of the biggest pinch-points for the south-east road network. Today the Government said it will do a detailed study of two final options for a new crossing over the Thames.
But some debate whether it's needed. David Johns reports, speaking to Roads Minister Robert Goodwill and Thurrock Council leader John Kent (Lab).
Part of the Dartford Crossing will be closed tonight from 10pm until 2am. Both northbound tunnels from Kent into Essex will be shut for an emergency exercise involving the Highways Agency and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. The bridge will remain open to southbound traffic.
New technology that will replace the country's most notorious toll booths, at Dartford, has been exclusively revealed to ITV News. The company who will operate the scheme insist traffic jams will be cut but critics say the tolls are a waste of money. See our full report by Mike Pearse.
Video. Work has started on a new layout for the Dartford Crossing.
The company running it says it will be similar to a scheme on the M50 in Dublin where cameras read number plates and automatically charge drivers.
We spoke to Simon McBeth, Sanef Director of Communications.
Work on a new layout for the Dartford Crossing begins today.
Barriers are being removed as a new payment system will be introduced in October 2014.
Drivers will pay online, by phone, text or at one of numerous retail outlets instead of stopping at the barriers.
The new payment method will ease congestion and traffic at the Crossing.
Signs will also be installed to help drivers understand the new system.
Nigel Gray, Highways Agency Project Director said, "This advance work has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to road users and so will largely be carried out overnight when traffic flows are lowest."
Newer technology and a change to the road layout should help reduce traffic congestion along the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. The scheme will be launched during October 2014 and the following changes are planned: you'll be paying remotely rather than at the barrier as you cross.
You'll be able to pay in advance of crossing or before midnight the day after crossing. It'll be cheaper for those to have an account and crossing between 10pm and 6am will still be free.
This spring, the Highways Agency will be doing some advance construction work to prepare for the new remote paying system in October. After that, the crossing road layout will change and work is due to complete in the spring of 2015.
A discount scheme which lets residents make unlimited trips across the Dartford Crossing comes into force today. People already registered in the Local Residents' Discount Scheme will be able to make unlimited trips over the crossing for £20 a year.
Meanwhile free-flow tolls will be operating at the crossing in October. It's hoped the new barrier-less system will help ease congestion for commuters.
The start of the working week meant that traffic built up around the crossing from early this morning.
Video. Rush hour traffic was brought to a standstill last Friday evening as bomb hoax saw the Dartford Crossing closed. Drivers were stuck in their cars till almost midnight. Over the weekend a man was arrested and detained under the Mental Health Act.
A new charging scheme to ease congestion and improve traffic flow at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing will go ahead next year.
It follows two consultations which found overall support for new legislation for drivers who don't pay.
The free-flow technology will enable motorist to go through without stopping at the barriers.