Published: 12:00, 27 September 2013
| Updated: 12:06, 27 September 2013
A multi-million pound contract has been awarded to a French company to bring in a quicker system for using the Dartford Crossing.
Sanef will be responsible for operating a free-flow charging system, which is due to come into operation in October next year.
It will mean drivers will not have to stop at barriers to pay the charge, but make payments over the phone, online or by text.
The step forward for the system, designed to free up congestion at the crossing, was announced today.
The £367million contract with Sanef - to design and deliver the new system - is a seven-year deal and includes the opportunity to extend up to a further three years.
Roads minister Stephen Hammond said: "I welcome this contract award which shows the government delivering on its promise to provide improvements that will help traffic flow better at this crucial gateway.
"This will help thousands of drivers who use the crossing every day, and benefit both the local and national economy."
Nigel Gray, Highways Agency project manager, said: "We are introducing new technology and road layout changes to change the way drivers pay to use the crossing.
"Once it is fully implemented drivers will not have to stop at the barriers, but will pay for their journey remotely.
"This will reduce congestion and ease traffic flow. The contract covers the development as well as the ongoing operation of the new payment system.
"We remain on track to deliver this improvement in October 2014."