The Dartford Crossing is changing – here’s what you need to know
If you are planning a shopping trip to intu Lakeside in Essex, and will be using the Dartford Crossing to get here, then you need to know that from 6am on 30 November 2014, the way you pay the crossing charge is changing.
It’s all part of a major road improvement programme to reduce congestion, at the Dartford Crossing, which crosses the River Thames and links Essex with Kent.
A new payment system called Dart Charge is being introduced. This means that you will no longer stop to pay at the barriers, but instead you will be able to pay in advance or by midnight the day after your journey.
A Dart Charge pre-pay account offers a discount of up to a third and means you don’t need to remember to pay, as it can be automatically topped up. You can set up an account online at www.gov.uk/dart-charge, over the phone by calling the contact centre on 0300 300 0120, or you can ask the contact centre to send you a registration form by post.
One-off payments can also be made over the phone, online, at selected Payzone retail outlets, or in advance by post.
Highways Agency Project Manager, Nigel Gray said: “These changes will improve traffic flow, reduce journey times, and bring about significant benefits to motorists, both locally and from much further afield. It’s one of the country’s most congested parts of the road network, and we’re serious about tackling the problem.”
As you make a crossing, number plate reading cameras, lasers and DART tag readers will identify your vehicle to see how much you need to pay. The system then takes the money from your account or waits to receive payment from you. If you do not pay in time, you will receive a penalty charge notice. This will apply to both UK and foreign vehicles.
It will still be free to use the Dartford Crossing between 10pm and 6am, and discounts for local residents will remain.
Once the new charging arrangements are in place, then the major construction works will begin, to replace the current 27 lanes and payment booths with a much simpler road layout with four lanes in each direction. New signs will also be installed.
When leaving Lakeside and heading southbound over the QEII Bridge, the improvements will happen quickly. It will take a little longer getting to Lakeside from Kent, as a new safety system that stops over height vehicles from entering the tunnels is needed. All road works are due to be completed in spring 2015 and are being planned to minimise disruption for road users. These are significant road works and you can expect some impact on your journey as a result.
These changes at the Dartford Crossing are part of the Government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure projects to boost economic growth. Around £1.7 billion is being spent on roads across the south-east by 2021.
To find out more, please like Dart Charge on Facebook, follow on Twitter or visit www.gov.uk/highways/dartford
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