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Barrier-Free Dartford Crossing From 2014

Barrier-Free Dartford Crossing From 2014

 

A new free-flow charging system aimed at easing congestion and improving traffic flow at the Dartford River Crossing will go ahead next year.




(The Dartford crossing links Essex and Kent and consists of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and two tunnels, which is used by 140,000 vehicles a day)

It follows two consultations which received overall support from the public for the legal measures to support the new way of charging at the bridge and tunnel.

Number plate recognition cameras will allow motorists to use the Crossing without having to stop at barriers to hand over payment. Road users will be able to pay through a variety of methods including telephone, text message, online, and at retail outlets - giving motorists greater flexibility in how and when they pay the charge.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: "The Dartford Crossing is vital to the local and national economy and introducing free-flow technology will cut congestion and improve journeys for the thousands of motorists and businesses who use the Crossing every day.

"We are now able to take forward the legislation to make sure charges will be able to be effectively enforced once free-flow charging at the Crossing is introduced next year."

Nigel Gray, Highways Agency senior project manager, said: "The Crossing continues to bring huge benefits to the economy, which is one of the reasons why there is such a demand.

"We are grateful to all those who responded to each consultation and we remain on track to introduce a free-flow charging arrangement in October 2014."

Motorists will be encouraged to pay the charge before they use the Crossing and will have up to midnight on the following day to pay the standard charge.

Non-payment will incur a fine of £70, with a reduced rate of £35 if paid within 14 days. If the penalty is not paid within 28 days it would increase to £105.


BBC News South East has estimated that the new barrier-free setup will result in losses of around £21m a year in unpaid charges - largely from foreign registered vehicles.