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Dartford tunnels to be redesigned as part of 'complicated' scheme

The Highways Agency said that the full benefit of the changes will only be felt when the toll booths are removed.

Dart Charge Project Director Nigel Gray said: "We will get underway on this work at the same time that the new payment arrangements begin. It's complicated work - especially on the northbound carriageway, where we need to protect the tunnels - one of which was built in the 1960s and has a lower height restriction - from over-height vehicles.

"We’ll be completely redesigning the approach to the tunnels to detect and turn around these vehicles and other vehicles not suitable for the tunnels, using a system of signals, barriers and extra lanes, while keeping all other traffic flowing as much as possible.”

Lane chaos scrapped as Dartford tolls removed

How the Dartford Crossing looks now Credit: Highways Agency
How the Dartford Crossing will look when the toll booths are removed Credit: Highways Agency

The Highways Agency has released images of how the Dartford Crossing will look when the toll booths are removed.

The current 27-lane system will be removed by four open lanes in each direction.

Work to remove the toll booths will coincide with Dart Charge - a remote charging system - going live in late November. The scheme is expected to be complete by next spring.

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Free-flow traffic system at Dartford Crossing delayed

Plans for a toll-free system at the Dartford Crossing have been delayed Credit: ITV Meridian

The introduction of new "cashless" payment arrangements at one of Britain's busiest road crossings has been delayed.

The Highways Agency had intended to scrap toll booths and introduce a "free-flow" traffic system at the Dartford River Crossing across the Thames east of London around mid-October. But the agency said that the new system will come into effect during late November.

Highways Agency project leader Nigel Gray said it was only right that the system be thoroughly tested before it was introduced.

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Minster says "right decision will be made" on Thames Crossing.

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).

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Work on new layout at Dartford Crossing to start today

Improvements to Dartford Crossing start today Credit: PA

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."

New technology and road layout for Dartford Crossing

Artist impression of new crossing Credit: Highways Agency

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.

Residents get discounts over Dartford Crossing

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.

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