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Revealed: Department for Transport confirms when Dartford Crossing barriers will be removed as artist impressions emerge

02 March 2014
by Thom Morris

The date when free-flow tolls come into force at the Dartford Crossing has been revealed today.

New charges - paid on the internet or via phone - will begin on October 26 this year, with promotion of the barrier-less system beginning in September.

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

What the barrier-less Dartford Crossing will look like

What the barrier-less Dartford Crossing will look like

The booths will be removed during October and work on re-aligning 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 to KentOnline this 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."

What the barrier-less Dartford Crossing will look like

What the barrier-less Dartford Crossing will look like

Mr Johnson also revealed foreign lorry drivers who do not pay will be tracked down in Europe to ensure they pay the fee.

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

Over-sized lorries will be sent back around the system if they cannot fit through the lower left hand tunnel. 

The 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.

Before How the road looks now

Before: How the road looks now

After How the road will look when work is complete

After: How the road will look when work is complete

Drivers will have to pay through a range of methods - including phone, text, online and at shops.

But if they fail to do so, 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.

New signs will be installed at the Dartford Crossing

New signs will be installed at the Dartford Crossing

Drivers will be encouraged to pay the charge before they use the crossing.

But changes made as a result of the consultations 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. 

The £367million contract to design, implement and deliver the new charging system was awarded to French firm Sanef by the Highways Agency.

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