To ease congestion at the Crossing a new payment system known as Dart Charge will be introduced on 30 November. Drivers will no longer stop at a barrier to pay the Crossing charge. Instead, they will pay in advance or by midnight the day after crossing. Payment can be made online, by phone or post or at one of thousands of retailers nationwide.
The new signs will be unveiled over the next week and will provide clear advice to drivers about the introduction of Dart Charge and how and when to pay. A wide-ranging public information campaign is underway informing Crossing users in the UK and overseas about the changes. To date over 100,000 drivers have registered for a pre-pay account where they will receive a discount of up to a third on each crossing.
Highways Agency Project Director Nigel Gray said:
Fifty new road signs will provide drivers with clear advice about Dart Charge. We have been working hard to inform crossing users about Dart Charge and encouraging them to sign up for pre-pay accounts where they will receive a discount on each crossing. But for those who do not want accounts these signs will act as a firm reminder to pay Dart Charge by midnight the day after crossing.
The majority of the new signs have already been installed – on roads including the M25, M20 and A13 – and will be unveiled in stages next weekend. Of the 50 new signs, 17 reused old sign posts to minimise the number of overnight lane closures.
Work to remove the booths and improve the road layout will begin on Friday 28 November - the same weekend the new payment arrangements go live - and will continue until spring 2015.
Connect Plus, a leading construction consortium and the Highways Agency’s main service provider for the whole M25, are carrying out construction work associated with the project.
Erwan Huerre, Connect Plus Services Transition Manager said:
As well as informing drivers about the changes in the payment methods, additional signage will be used to raise awareness of the significant road works that will be taking place at the crossing. It is important to ensure that road users follow all signage on site and comply with speed restrictions and lane guidance, to ensure the safety of themselves, other motorists and road workers, and, to minimise disruption to their journeys.
14 signs have already been revealed to advise drivers of the changes and are supported by electronic message signs during the countdown to the payment changes.
New height limit signage will also be unveiled to help drivers of taller vehicles heading northbound into the tunnels get into the correct lane in good time.
Dart Charge – Frequently Asked Questions
Dart Charge is a massive change to how people use the Dartford Crossing. Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions about the new payment arrangements:
When will the new payment arrangements be introduced?
Dart Charge will be introduced at 6am on Sunday 30 November 2014.
Why are you making the changes?
Removing the need to stop and pay at the barriers will ease congestion and speed up journeys for everyone.
How will I pay?
From 30 November you will be able to make one-off payments:
By post. Call us on the number above and we’ll send you a registration form.
What happens if I already have an account with DART-Tag?
There is no need to set up a new account –you should have already received personalised instructions to tell you how you can quickly and easily transfer to Dart Charge. If you have not received these please call us on 0300 300 0120.
I don’t want an account, when can I pay for an individual crossing?
You will be able to make one-off payments from the 30 November; the day the new charging services go live.
When do I need to pay the charge?
The charging hours are between 6am -10pm every day. It will still be free to use the Crossing between 10pm and 6am.
If you don’t set up a Dart Charge account you will need to pay the charge in advance or by midnight the following day for every crossing you make within the charging hours (6am – 10pm) after the 30 November.
What happens if I don’t pay?
If you do not pay by midnight on the day after your crossing, you will face a penalty.
Where can I find further information?
Further information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at www.gov.uk/highways/dartford and everyone can subscribe to receive updates via this page.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.