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A non-stop Dartford Crossing: Motorists' views sought in bid to remove toll barriers

Queues at the Dartford crossing toll booths
Queues at the Dartford crossing toll booths

Queues at the Dartford crossing toll booths

Motorists are being asked their views on plans to remove the
barriers at the Dartford Crossing in a bid to tackle

The Highways Agency wants to get rid of the toll
booths by the end of 2014 - and give drivers others ways of paying
to use the tunnels and QEII bridge.

It is set to remove the gates and introduce a tagging system,
allowing people to pay by phone, text, online or even in

There will be fines for anyone who does not pay by midnight
on the day they travel.

A 12-week public consultation into the
"free-flow" charging system begins on Monday.

The barriers have been blamed for causing huge queues as
lorries, vans and caravans come to a halt to pay the crossing

Under the proposed system, motorists would not have to stop to
pay the charge - set to rise within two years to £2.50 from £2 for

If they ignore or forget the crossing charge by midnight, they
will be fined.

Dartford Crossing
Dartford Crossing

Motorists will not have to stop to pay the Dartford Crossing toll

The proposal is that a £70 charge will be imposed, but this will
be reduced to £35 if drivers pay within 28 days.

The fine will rise to £105 if the crossing fee remains unpaid.

Road users will be encouraged to pay the charge in advance of
their use of the crossing.

Roads minister Stephen Hammond said: "By removing the barriers
at the crossing, congestion will be reduced and traffic flow will
improve for all motorists – but that means the way payment is
collected will change.

"We need to make sure we have steps in place to allow
enforcement against drivers who do not pay their road user charge.
How and what will happen needs to be decided and that is exactly
what the enforcement regulations consultation will do."

Nigel Gray, from the Highways Agency, said: "The Dartford
Crossing is a crucial piece of national infrastructure that brings
economic benefits to the region and the whole country. We
understand how frustrated motorists are and that is why tackling
congestion here is an absolute priority.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

"The draft order sets out how the charge at Dartford will
operate and how we propose to enforce it under a free-flow charging

Discounts will remain for those who set up an account and
pay in advance as well as for those who qualify for the local
residents' discount scheme.

People have until Monday, January 28 to have their say online.

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