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Dartford MP Gareth Johnson to open House of Commons debate about Dartford Crossing

Horrendous traffic congestion at the Dartford Crossing will fall under the spotlight at the House of Commons with a debate secured by the town’s MP Gareth Johnson (Con).

Multi-million pound changes at the river crossing have made the ‘misery’ lanes worse, despite a £62m investment abolishing the toll booths.

Now Mr Johnson, who last month personally visited the control section of the site run by Highways England, has laid the problem at the heart of government. Motorists say they experience delays of up to 45 minutes or more just to make the crossing.

The QE2 Bridge, Dartford. Library picture
The QE2 Bridge, Dartford. Library picture

Mr Johnson is due to open the debate late on Wednesday afternoon and it is due to be closed by transport minister Andrew Jones.

Mr Johnson said: “The crossing is the biggest issue affecting transportation in the area and is Britain’s worst stretch of road.”

He added he made his move ahead of a petition currently being organised in the belief people don’t want to wait.

Gareth Johnson MP
Gareth Johnson MP

“Traffic problems are worsening - not improving. It’s one of the biggest issues facing Dartford and the government needs to get to grips with Highways England.”

The Freight Transport Association has already fired off a letter to Chancellor George Osborne complaining delays are costing the industry millions - £1 for every minute an HGV sits stranded in a line of endless grid-locks.

Mr Johnson’s Commons initiative was applauded by Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con): “People in Dartford sometimes get the feeling that the seriousness of the situation has not been fully appreciated by successive governments, so Mr Johnson’s campaign highlighting at senior ministerial level the appalling impact on our local families and businesses is hugely welcome.”

Cllr Jeremy Kite
Cllr Jeremy Kite

Next week’s debate comes against the background of the government planning launch a public consultation on the site of a new Thames Crossing, expected next month.

That decision will pivot around yet another river crossing being built at Dartford, or one east of Gravesham.

Cllr Kite made it known this week he plans to “mobilise the people of Dartford” to support NOT having another crossing on its doorstep.

“To have another river crossing at Dartford would be ludicrous,” he said. “Anyone who lives here knows of the appalling traffic problems and the pollution caused by the present one.”

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