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FTA urges fleets to be aware of new traffic system at Dartford Tunnel

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is urging fleet operators to make their drivers aware of the new traffic system on the A282 (M25) northbound approach to the Dartford Tunnel.

Following the introduction of Dart Charge in November, a new traffic safety system has been put in place to identify oversized vehicles and those carrying hazardous goods. Traffic lights and automatic barriers will stop lorries continuing through the tunnel in the wrong lane and drivers face fines and potential points on their licence if they don’t comply with the restrictions.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said: “The new road lay-out could lead to confusion and drivers who fail to follow the signs face penalties, so we are encouraging our members to updates their staff on the new regulations.”

The changes are designed to keep traffic flowing through the tunnel and reduce disruption for motorists.  Previously all vehicles were held at the toll booths while an over height vehicle was re-routed.

Vehicles 4.8 metres high or less can travel in any lane but those above 4.8m must approach in the two right-hand lanes after junction 1a to travel through the higher east bore tunnel.  Lorries over 5m are too tall for either tunnel and must leave at junction 1a.  HGVs found to be in the wrong lane will be stopped by a red traffic light and barrier system and turned back to junction 1b.

Chapman said: “If there’s a long queue they will find themselves at the back again so they need to make sure they are in the correct lane.

"The new free-flow system at the tunnel is already showing benefits – queueing to pay at the booths was the major cause of congestion at the crossing so anything that eases the problem is welcome.

“However, it’s estimated that congestion will be back to the pre Dart Charge level by 2020 so we would urge the Government to make a decision on a much-need new Lower Thames crossing as soon as possible.”


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