CommercialFleet

Highways England issues advice for drivers of goods vehicles using the Dartford Crossing

Drivers of dangerous goods or oversized vehicles approaching the northbound carriageway of the Dartford Crossing are being reminded to follow instructions on signs to avoid being stopped and turned back causing delays to journeys.

Drivers of non-restricted vehicles approaching the Crossing northbound who do not need to exit at junction 31 are also being encouraged to use lanes 3 or 4 (lane 3 if they are over 7.5 tonnes) as they are less likely to be delayed.

Last month, new data was published showing that average northbound journey times at the Crossing had improved by three and a half minutes since the introduction of Dart Charge and the removal of cash payments at barriers in November last year.

The latest reminder to drivers is a move to further reduce delays on the approach to the Dartford tunnels and help make journeys quicker for everyone.

Advice for drivers of goods vehicles about the safety restrictions in place on the northbound carriageway of the Dartford Crossing can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dartford-crossing-layout-changes-information-for-drivers-of-goods-vehicles

On average, around 20 dangerous goods or oversized vehicles a day are stopped and extracted at the Traffic Safety System each week day because the drivers have not followed instructions on signs and have taken the wrong route or are in the wrong lane. This causes delay to those drivers as well as other traffic. These drivers could also receive a fine and points on their licence.

Data shows that most extractions take place in lanes 1 and 2. Also, lanes 1 and 2 need to be held at least four times an hour while escorts of dangerous goods vehicles take place. If a vehicle is not restricted and does not need to exit at junction 31 there is a real benefit for drivers to use lanes 3 or 4 (lane 3 if they are over 7.5 tonnes) as they will not be stopped by dangerous goods escorts and far less likely to get delayed by an extraction of a restricted vehicle.  

Advice for drivers carry hazardous goods or abnormal loads

Drivers carrying hazardous goods or abnormal loads must exit the A282 (M25) northbound at junction 1a and follow the ‘hollow diamond’ symbol to report to the vehicle marshalling area to be checked before using the tunnels.

Once in the vehicle marshalling area vehicles will be checked by Crossing staff and placed into one of two categories, depending on the nature of the goods being transported.

Non-escorted goods will be directed to exit the vehicle marshalling area and rejoin the main carriageway via the A282 northbound junction 1a Roundabout and Entry Slip Road.

Escorted goods will be directed via a dedicated lane to a forward holding bay to wait for a vehicle escort through the Dartford tunnels.

If drivers fail to report to the vehicle marshalling area they will be stopped and turned around causing them and other drivers delay. They could also receive a fine and points on their licence.

Advice for drivers of oversized vehicles

Drivers should follow the instructions on road signs to avoid being stopped and turned around.

Oversized vehicles must get in the correct lane after junction 2 and before junction 1a – you will not be able to change lanes after junction 1a.

Height restrictions are:

  • 4.8m for lanes 1 and 2 (left hand lanes)
  • 5.0m for lanes 3 and 4 (right hand lanes)

Vehicles above 4.8m cannot join the A282 Northbound carriageway at junction 1a, and should join at junction 1b instead.

Non restricted vehicles aver 7.5 tonnes should use lanes 1 or 3.

Drivers of vehicles higher than 5.0m must not attempt to use the tunnels and should use another route. Drivers of vehicles wider than 2.75m or longer than 18.75m must exit at junction 1a and follow the ‘hollow diamond’ symbol to the vehicle marshalling area to be checked before using the tunnels.

If drivers fail to comply they will be stopped and turned around causing them and other drivers delay. They could also receive a fine and points on their licence.


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