New measures to improve journey times and reduce queuing on roads around the northbound approaches to the Dartford Crossing in Kent have been agreed by Highways England and Kent County Council.
Smarter traffic lights and new lane markings are amongst the measures that will be implemented.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “We have already delivered better journeys for thousands of drivers at the Dartford Crossing by removing the tolling booths, and this is more good news for drivers.
“By upgrading traffic lights and carrying out other improvements we will help keep people moving and reduce the frustration of unpredictable journey times. Longer-term we remain committed to unlocking extra capacity by building a new Lower Thames Crossing.”
According to Highways England, journeys over the Dartford Crossing have sped up significantly since Dart Charge was introduced in November 2014 but the Kent side of the Crossing still suffers from regular congestion, especially on local roads leading to the junctions nearest the crossing – junction 1B, the Princes Road interchange, and junction 1A, the entrance to the crossing itself.
The package of measures has been identified following detailed discussions between Highways England and Kent County Council and includes:
- New message signs for drivers on local roads providing information about conditions ahead
- Smarter management of the traffic lights at junctions 1A, 1B and 2 (the Darenth Interchange) to improve traffic flow
- New lane markings, including yellow boxes, at junction 1A and junction 1B to reduce lane blocking on the roundabouts
- New vehicle activated signs on the local approaches to junction 1A that will help to alert drivers of oversized vehicles to the height restrictions at the Dartford tunnels
- New journey time monitoring technology on three key routes approaching the crossing to help better manage traffic flow.
In addition, a new system to enable more effective data sharing between Highways England and Kent County Council has been agreed that will allow both organisations to be more responsive to daily traffic patterns and respond in real time to what is happening at the northbound crossing.
Highways England and Kent County Council are now working up detailed plans for the earliest possible delivery of these improvements.