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Threat to 150 jobs on Dartford Crossing tolls under barrier-less payment system as Connect Plus Services launches redundancy consultation

06 March 2014
by Thom Morris
Toll booths are going at the Dartford Crossing

Toll booths are going at the Dartford Crossing

More details were unveiled of how the new layout will look once the booths are scrapped and drivers have to pay on the internet, by phone or in shops. 

A CPS spokesman said: "This change is required to align the resources to meet the future needs of the M25 following the planned introduction of Dartford Free Flow by the Highways Agency in October 2014.

"As part of the consultation process a full support package will be available and redeployment opportunities will be explored."

This spring, the Highways Agency will start some advance construction work to prepare for the introduction of the new remote payment system.

A spokesman said: "After the introduction of the new system, we will start the main roadworks at the crossing to remove the booths and introduce a new road layout. This work is due to be completed in spring 2015."

The new-look road system at the Dartford Crossing

The new-look road system at the Dartford Crossing

Artist impressions of what the crossing will look like without barriers have also been published.

The booths will be removed during October and work to re-align the road will also take place that month.

The scheme, in a bid to ease congestion, is not due to be completed until June 2015.

The Department for Transport document was shown to Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, who revealed it on Friday afternoon.

He said: "I think the new system will help alleviate the congestion currently experienced around the crossing.

"I'd like to see the tolls removed completely, but this is at least the first time we've seen action taken to tackle the congestion since the bridge was built.

"The barriers themselves are responsible for much of the congestion so at least that antiquated system has gone."

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson with the Dartford Crossing plans

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson with the Dartford Crossing plans

The plans show the large multi-lane system approaching the barriers will be narrowed to just four lanes.

Over-sized lorries will be sent back if they cannot fit through the lower left hand tunnel and will have to loop back to the right hand tunnel.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments belowThe fee for cars is £2, but this is set to rise to £2.50 for cars, £3 for two-axle vehicles and £6 for HGVs once free-flow charging is implemented.

If HGV drivers fail to pay, they face fines - increasing to £105 if not paid within 28 days.

It is hoped the new system, which in theory means no more queues and barriers, will improve traffic flow at the river crossing for the 140,000 to 150,000 vehicles that use it each day.

Drivers will be encouraged to pay the charge before they use the crossing. But changes, made as a result of consultation, mean motorists will have longer – up to midnight on the following day – to pay the standard charge.

The penalty for non-payment will be £70, with a reduced rate of £35 if paid within 14 days.

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