Work has started to install gantries which will house signage and technology associated with the new Dart Charge remote payment system coming into operation at the Dartford Crossing from October 2014.
In total five gantries will be installed near the tunnel entrance, and on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, to accommodate signage relating to the system, and equipment to identify vehicles.
Preparation work for the installation has been taking place off the road, with no disruption to drivers. The actual installation work requires separate north and southbound overnight closures. The work is being done overnight when traffic flows are lowest.
Northbound work will take place on 14, 15, 16 and 18 May. Southbound work will take place for four nights from 19 May and on 27 and 28 May.
To enable traffic to continue to be able to travel in both directions over the crossing only one bore of the tunnel will be open to northbound traffic during the overnight work. When work takes place southbound, the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge will be closed and southbound traffic will be diverted to use the eastern bore of the tunnel.
The bores have separate height restrictions and over height vehicles will be diverted via the M25.
When Dart Charge comes into operation, the way people pay the Dartford Crossing charge will change. Drivers will no longer pay at the crossing barriers; instead they will be able to pay in advance or before midnight the day after crossing. Payment methods will include pre-pay accounts which qualify for discounted travel, online, by text, at retail outlets, over the phone or by post. Drivers who do not pay will face a penalty charge.
Non-UK users will be able to use the same payment channels. The automatic number plate recognition system will recognise non-UK vehicles and if there is any doubt number plates can be reviewed manually.
Once Dart Charge is introduced in October work will then begin to remove the payment booths and introduce the new road layout.