Are Government set to delay new crossing decision until after free-flow tolls come in at current crossing?

Echo: Are Government set to delay new crossing decision until after free-flow tolls come in at current crossing? Are Government set to delay new crossing decision until after free-flow tolls come in at current crossing?

A DECISION on where a new Thames crossing will land might not be made until AFTER free-flow tolling has been introduced.

The Government is "minded" to wait and see how the new system, which will be in effect by Spring 2015, helps with congestion before making a decision on where a new river crossing should go.

That was the claim of MP Stephen Metcalfe at a public meeting held in Orsett last night.

He told an audience of more than 200 residents, worried about the impact a new crossing would have in Thurrock, that the Government has not yet chosen between Option A or Option C.

Echo: stephen metcalfe

Stephen Metcalfe speaking at last night's meeting at Orsett Hall

Option A would see a new crossing built next to the QEII Bridge, while Option C would land between Tilbury Fort and West Tilbury, with a new road then carving through green belt land to meet Junction 29 of the M25.

Mr Metcalfe, the East Thurrock and South Basildon MP, said: "I can say that no final decisions have been made. Neither option on the table holds more weight than the other.

"The minister is now minded to see whether free flow tolling has a significant impact before making a decision. That comes off the back of my meeting with the Prime Minister."

The Government had previously said a new crossing would be needed regardless of free flow tolling being introduced.

The change of heart comes as more details emerged about the free flow tolling scheme for the current Dartford Crossing.

The remote payment system - which comes into effect in October this year - will work much like the London congestion charge zone, with motorists being able to pay for use of the crossing online, by phone, text, or in some shops.

Later this month, the Highways Agency will begin putting up signs that tell motorists they are entering the "charging zone". These will be covered until the new system is switched on.

A significant amount of work will be done to change the road layout on the Kent side of the crossing. This will begin once the new payment system is in place later this year.

Nigel Gray, Highways Agency Project Director, said: “The changes we are introducing at Dartford will reduce congestion and ease traffic flow at this vital transport link.

“Work to date has been progressing well behind-the-scenes. Now we are ready to start on the road. This advance work has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to road users and so will largely be carried out overnight when traffic flows are lowest.

Echo: the dart charge logo

How the new signs will look - the Highways Agency will begin putting them up on roads around the crossing later this month. They will be covered up until October, when the remote system comes into play.

“Due to the extent of road layout changes required at the crossing, the main construction work to remove the existing plazas and barriers can only start once the new payments arrangements are in place this autumn; this too will be planned with drivers very much in mind.”

Echo: Is this how the free-flow toll system at the Dartford Crossing will look?

How the road will look - without toll booths - once finished. Work will start in October and be finished by the Spring.

The signage work will take place overnight on the A282, M25, A13, M20. On the A1306, A2, Bob Dunn Way and Crossways Boulevard it will take place during off-peak daytime hours.

Comments (9)

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11:56am Thu 3 Apr 14

w-jback says...

sensible idea to wait, might not even need it once free flow is in place.
sensible idea to wait, might not even need it once free flow is in place. w-jback
  • Score: 9

12:11pm Thu 3 Apr 14

pembury53 says...

w-jback wrote:
sensible idea to wait, might not even need it once free flow is in place.
might not be needed for while, but when those tens of thousands of new builds go in, either side of the river, 'free flow' will be the topic of stand up comics at the circus tavern......
[quote][p][bold]w-jback[/bold] wrote: sensible idea to wait, might not even need it once free flow is in place.[/p][/quote]might not be needed for while, but when those tens of thousands of new builds go in, either side of the river, 'free flow' will be the topic of stand up comics at the circus tavern...... pembury53
  • Score: 7

12:54pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

Free flowing tolls is an oxymoron
Free flowing tolls is an oxymoron Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

1:43pm Thu 3 Apr 14

angryofessex says...

They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then?
They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then? angryofessex
  • Score: 9

3:11pm Thu 3 Apr 14

poortaxpayer says...

angryofessex wrote:
They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then?
Highway Robbery.
[quote][p][bold]angryofessex[/bold] wrote: They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then?[/p][/quote]Highway Robbery. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 10

3:49pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

angryofessex wrote:
They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then?
Excellent point. Spot on.

The tunnel was paid for ages ago and the bridge also must be by now as it is 23 years old.

And the removal of the tolls should free up the traffic so yes, you're right.

What bugs me is how they will follow up the non-payers because we just know for a fact, being the position this bridge is in, with access to the channel ports and with the free flow of people in this country to go where ever they **** well like these days and cause havoc, there will be a lot of people taking advantage.

As for another crossing, what the heck is the point putting it next to the existing one?

And how soon will it be before paying road tax just becomes a joke in this country, especially in the southeast?
[quote][p][bold]angryofessex[/bold] wrote: They are not allowed to charge a toll; it has to be called a congestion charge. Once free flow is in place presumably there will be no congestion, so what will they call the charge then?[/p][/quote]Excellent point. Spot on. The tunnel was paid for ages ago and the bridge also must be by now as it is 23 years old. And the removal of the tolls should free up the traffic so yes, you're right. What bugs me is how they will follow up the non-payers because we just know for a fact, being the position this bridge is in, with access to the channel ports and with the free flow of people in this country to go where ever they **** well like these days and cause havoc, there will be a lot of people taking advantage. As for another crossing, what the heck is the point putting it next to the existing one? And how soon will it be before paying road tax just becomes a joke in this country, especially in the southeast? Kim Gandy
  • Score: 5

4:29pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Mick P says...

Free flow may work,but it will still grid lock due to breakdowns/accidents etc,which is a everyday occurance there
Free flow may work,but it will still grid lock due to breakdowns/accidents etc,which is a everyday occurance there Mick P
  • Score: 3

8:18pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Chris12 says...

Typical politicians. Delay the tough decisions or the spending for someone else or until it whatever gets decided happens long after the need becomes critical.

Massive new port opens and what have they actually done to future-proof for the expansion that has to come if it is to be a success. They talk about people queuing up to invest in Thurrock in another article but expect the existing road a railways to cope. We've useless crossings of the Thames in the east and yet we are the major route for traffic from and to Dover.

On the basis that we manufacture very little, how on earth do they expect the stuff we need to get around ?

Nice to see that JDP has nothing to say in the article, or perhaps the Gazette thought there was no point approaching her for an opinion. Maybe the neighbouring Conservative MPs are simply pandering to their own constituencies now that the next election is closer than the last one......
Typical politicians. Delay the tough decisions or the spending for someone else or until it whatever gets decided happens long after the need becomes critical. Massive new port opens and what have they actually done to future-proof for the expansion that has to come if it is to be a success. They talk about people queuing up to invest in Thurrock in another article but expect the existing road a railways to cope. We've useless crossings of the Thames in the east and yet we are the major route for traffic from and to Dover. On the basis that we manufacture very little, how on earth do they expect the stuff we need to get around ? Nice to see that JDP has nothing to say in the article, or perhaps the Gazette thought there was no point approaching her for an opinion. Maybe the neighbouring Conservative MPs are simply pandering to their own constituencies now that the next election is closer than the last one...... Chris12
  • Score: 3

3:46pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Mick P says...

Take a closer look at the picture,expand it and you will see a section of another crossing immediately to the left of the bridge as it goes over the river,is this a glimpse of the future,I think somebody has already decided where the next crossing is going to be....don't you?
Take a closer look at the picture,expand it and you will see a section of another crossing immediately to the left of the bridge as it goes over the river,is this a glimpse of the future,I think somebody has already decided where the next crossing is going to be....don't you? Mick P
  • Score: 0

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