As long as five double-deckers - the biggest lorry ever enters Dartford Tunnel

A 135-foot bridge is the longest load ever to go through the Dartford Tunnel Credit: Highways England

A 135-foot lorry has become the longest ever vehicle to use the Dartford Tunnel into Essex.

It was transporting a 41 metre footbridge - nearly the length of five double-decker buses - to Southend-on-Sea.

Highways England says a carefully planned operation last month involving them along with Essex Police and Dartford Crossing operators Connect Plus Services meant that traffic at the busy crossing needed to be held for only three minutes.

“The Dartford Crossing is the only road link across the River Thames to the east of London and is a vital part of the nation’s road network. "It is used to make more than 185,000 journeys every day and we work hard to make sure we deal with abnormal and dangerous loads as smoothly as possible. "Even though this was the longest load that we have seen at the Dartford Crossing, close working between us, the police and our colleagues at Connect Plus ensured that we could safely escort this footbridge through the tunnel with minimum disruption for other drivers.”

Tommy Whittingham, Highways England

The Dartford crossing across the River Thames between Essex and Kent links two ends of the M25.

It consists of a bridge taking traffic southbound and two tunnels coming north.