Dart Charge launched last November to speed up journeys at the Dartford Crossing and give drivers more flexibility about how and when they pay the crossing charge. Since then, roadworks have been in place to remove the old payment booths and install a new safety system to manage over-sized vehicles and dangerous loads on approach to the Dartford Tunnels.
Today that work is substantially complete and the road layout is in its final alignment. The temporary 30mph speed limit that has been in place has been removed, and replaced with a new 50mph limit.
Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said:
Dart Charge has already brought significant improvements to the 140,000 journeys that are made at the Dartford Crossing every day. From today, journeys are set to improve further still, with four lanes in each direction all operating with a 50mph speed limit. It is a significant milestone for the project and means that drivers will start to feel the full benefit of the changes that we have made with faster, less stressful journeys at this vital transport gateway.
Over the weekend, teams switched southbound traffic onto its final alignment as it leaves the crossing, removing the ‘kink’ in the road that had been necessary through the roadworks. Northbound traffic moved to its final layout in June when the traffic safety system went live. A 50mph limit at the crossing is in place 24 hours a day in both directions and is enforced by average speed cameras.
This latest milestone achievement is the culmination of 82 weeks of construction work. In all, more than 400,000 staff hours have been worked without a single reportable site accident. Since mid-June, 4,800 tonnes of tarmac have been used to surface the new southbound road layout, and 140 cubic metres of concrete have been used to build a new retaining wall to separate the northbound and southbound carriageway and to raise the height of the existing carriageway.
Connect Plus, Highways England’s main service provider for the M25, is carrying out construction work associated with the project.
Connect Plus Services Project Manager, Gareth Hopkins said:
This hugely challenging and complex project has been delivered successfully to the benefit of all Dartford Crossing users. Our work, including the collaborative efforts of our team of contractors has been delivered safely and at an impressive pace. I would like to thank road users for their patience whilst these vital improvement works were carried out.
Work to construct new roadside verges and install a signage gantry will continue overnight when traffic flows are lowest.
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