THE Highways Agency has released a striking time lapse video showing how work to introduce free flow tolling at the Dartford Crossing is progressing apace.
The video shows the installation of five new gantries that have been installed in recent weeks at the entrance to the Dartford tunnels and on the Queen Elizabeth II bridge.
It is hoped that Dart Charge – a new payment system being introduced from October 2014 – will improve journeys and reduce congestion at the crossing - which is regularly clogged up with traffic - by removing the need to stop at payment booths and giving drivers more flexibility about how and when they pay the charge.
There will be lots of ways to pay – a simple pre-pay account, where drivers can save up to a third on each crossing, and also online, by phone and at selected shops.
The gantries will house the technology that will drive Dart Charge. One gantry will carry signage, and the other four will hold cutting edge equipment to detect and identify the vehicles passing under them.
Work on installing this equipment will now begin, with traffic restrictions in force on one of the tunnels or on the QEII bridge. When the QEII bridge is closed, the east bore will be used for southbound traffic.
Once installed, the new cameras undergo testing before going live later this year.
Nigel Gray, a Highways Agency project manager, said: "Completing this first phase of construction successfully is a big milestone in our work to improve the Dartford Crossing for the 170,000 drivers that use it every day.
"We’ve worked hard to install these five gantries in a way that keeps traffic disruption to an absolute minimum, and we’ll continue this focus as we move on to the next phase of work."