Press release

New Dartford tunnel safety system launches next month

A new safety system that will help improve traffic flow at the Dartford Crossing will open for traffic over the weekend of 13-14 June.

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Dartford Crossing

The system is part of the Dart Charge project, which is speeding up journeys at the Crossing by removing the need to stop at a barrier to pay the crossing charge. It will identify, stop and turn around vehicles that may pose a safety risk – oversized or carrying dangerous loads – before they enter the tunnels, which run northbound from Kent into Essex.

It will also enable dangerous goods vehicles to be safely escorted through the tunnels and stop vehicles entering the tunnels in the event of an incident.

Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said:

Since Dart Charge launched in November it has already significantly improved journeys at the Dartford Crossing. This new safety system is vital for the safe operation of the tunnels and will enable us to remove the old payment barriers for good. It will mean a significant change to the road layout, so I advise drivers to take extra care and pay extra attention to all signs and signals, especially for the first few times they use the crossing following the change.

The new traffic safety system is part of changes being made to the road layout at the Crossing following the introduction of Dart Charge in November 2014. Final road layout changes will be complete later this summer when drivers will feel the full benefits of Dart Charge.

Tunnel closures will be required overnight during the go-live weekend to introduce the system. To minimise the disruption, one tunnel will remain open at all times.

Highways England’s video and leaflet explain how the new tunnel traffic safety system will operate.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 21 May 2015