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Dartford Crossing: Anger after high winds shut QEII bridge

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Drivers have hit out at highways chiefs after getting stuck in tailbacks that lasted up to 11 hours.

High winds led to Highways England ordering the closure of the QEII crossing at Dartford yesterday.

But, as the tailbacks grew, so did the anger - with many drivers blaming authorities for a lack of information and unnecessary closures.

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Queues stretched back for miles - and lasted for hours! Picture: @matty00300
Queues stretched back for miles - and lasted for hours! Picture: @matty00300

Scores of drivers took to social media to condemn the "inhuman" queues and closures.

The Sheppey Crossing was also closed for several hours as Storm Imogen battered the county.

The Dartford bridge finally opened at around 10pm last night.

Helen Harman said her husband had been stuck for 11 hours in the jams.

Keith Adie urged operators to return some of the day's Dart Charge by way of recompense to all those caught up in the queues.

The delays didn't stop people's sense of humour. Picture: @jealdarren
The delays didn't stop people's sense of humour. Picture: @jealdarren

Paul Howam said his eight-hour journey was "inhumane".

Meanwhile, Carmeliana Triolo said: "It is literally an embarrassment. A 54-mile journey that has taken four and a half hours - and still nowhere near the crossing."

Glenn Longhurst questioned whether the bridge needed to be closed for so long.

He said: "Nine hours - too little, too late, when the bridge could have been opened earlier with speed restrictions. There is a need for a third crossing."

One driver, Andrew Buchan, suggested it would have been quicker for many to go the long way around the M25.

On Twitter, dazchild said: "Already ruined my evening, which I am sure was unnecessary. Still, I bet you have made lots of money."

Chris Almond hit out at the lack of information coming through - "no updates. Total joke."

Huge delays near the crossing. Picture: @BritneysSlave
Huge delays near the crossing. Picture: @BritneysSlave

But there was a glimmer of brightness on the storm-fuelled horizon. One driver said staff from Domino's Pizza had been walking along the queues offering pizza.

For others, it was just misery.

Andrew Goudie said his pregnant wife left Rainham in Essex at 3.30pm, but had still not returned home - two minutes away from the crossing - by 10pm last night.

Another Twitter user, messaging from the Charlton Athletic account, said: "Someone needs to be sacked for this tonight.

"Whoever closed the bridge has got it very wrong. It's not even that windy."

David Seymour called for another tunnel built to counter the "absolute joke" of an evening.

But Alison Dilnutt summed it up for many of the thousands caught in the horrendous delays: "People stuck with no food, water, unable to go to the loo and no real info or advice from highways or police. Disgusting."

Highways England tweeted throughout the night about the high winds making it unsafe to open the bridge.

After 10pm the agency said: "Wind speeds have reduced and we've been able to safely re-open the bridge. Congestion starting to ease."

Were you caught up in the delays? Tell us your thoughts below

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