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MP calls for new look at traffic on Dartford crossing
11:30am Thursday 9th January 2014 in News
AN MP called on ministers to act after closures of the Dartford crossing left thousands of motorists stranded.
Jackie Doyle-Price, Tory MP for Thurrock, wants the Government to assess the road network after the QE2 bridge was closed on three separate occassions in recent weeks because of high winds.
The M25 and roads across Thurrock were left gridlocked over the festive season because of the closures.
Ensignbus, Thurrock’s leading bus firm, which runs 15 services in the borough, is also demanding the Highways Authority sorts out problems.
Stormy weather forced the crossing, which links Thurrock to Dartford in Kent, to shut down for long periods on Monday, December 23, Monday, December 30 and New Year’s Day.
It led to serious delays of up to six hours around Lakeside shopping centre.
Ms Doyle-Price wants the Government’s emergency planning committee – Cobra – to look into the situation.
She said: “It is important that a proper assessment of the impact of the weather on the road network is made at the highest levels of Government and that is why I want Cobra to look at this.
“I am convinced if a proper look is taken, the Government would conclude we need a new outer ring road to complement the M25 and ensure there is resilience in the road network.”
Furious motorists questioned why the toll barriers at the Dartford Tunnel were not lifted to improve traffic flowwhen the bridge closed.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said the existing barriers would never be lifted permanently as they control traffic.
Queues need to be ten miles long on the M25 for charges to be lifted, which they were not on either of the three occasions.
He said: “Suspending the charge is to provide congestion relief in and around Dartford and Thurrock, not just on the M25. In order to apply the protocol consistently we monitor traffic build up on the M25.”
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