Saturday, 11 April 2015

How will the Dartford Tunnel safety system work in May? . . .


How will the Dartford Tunnel safety system work in May?

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The animations show how an overheight vehicle is detected and prevented from entering the tunnel

Restrictions on height will be put in place

The Highways Agency has released new animations which shows how the new safety system will operate at the Dartford Crossing.

The videos show how the system - due to be introduced on the northbound carriageway in May, will identify and stop oversized vehicles or those carrying dangerous goods from entering the tunnels.

They also provide clear advice to drivers about getting in the correct lane in plenty of time which will help minimise the number of times vehicles need to be stopped and turned around.

The new system is an important part of speeding up journeys at the Crossing now that Dart Charge is in place and drivers no longer need to stop at barriers to pay.

Highways Agency Project Director Nigel Gray said: "Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency. The old payment barriers used to provide us with a way to prevent oversized or dangerous goods vehicles from entering the Dartford tunnels but the introduction of Dart Charge required a new solution. This video shows how the new system will provide the protection needed while keeping disruption to a minimum."

Construction of the new system began in January. Traffic lights, barriers and electronic message signs will be used to safely stop and turn around any vehicle that is not approaching the tunnel in the correct lane, while keeping disruption to other traffic to a minimum.

The system has already been tested at a disused airfield and further on road tests will take place before it is introduced.

A new leaflet has been produced to help drivers understand what they need to do and is available at

Advice to drivers of tall vehicles:
If you are driving a tall vehicle northbound, you need to ensure you get in the correct lane as soon as possible after junction 2. New signs now inform you which lane you must choose.

The northbound carriageway now divides just after the junction 1a exit slip road, with the two inside lanes (left-hand lanes) dedicated to the west tunnel (height restriction 4.8m) and two outside lanes (right-hand lanes) dedicated to the east tunnel (height restriction 5.0m). Vehicles joining at junction 1a can only access the two inside lanes and use the west tunnel.

Drivers who fail to use the correct lanes will be in violation of traffic regulations and could receive a fine or points on their driving licence.

Advice to drivers carrying hazardous materials:
When travelling northbound drivers of hazardous loads must continue to exit at junction 1a and follow signs to the vehicle marshalling area where they will be checked and escorted through the Crossing, if necessary. The safety system will identify, stop and turn around drivers who fail to do this and they could receive a fine or points on their driving licence.

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