Free-flow tolling is now live at the Dartford crossing and users no longer pay at barriers. It is still free to use the crossing between 10pm and 6am. However, the charge for using the crossing increased at the same time as free-flow was introduced. Read more about charge levels here.
Main Dart Charge roadworks now completed
Work to improve the road layout around the Dartford Crossing has been substantially completed. Since the Dart Charge was launched last November, roadworks have been in place to remove the old payment booths and install a new safety system to manage over-sized vehicles and dangerous loads on approach to the Dartford Tunnels. This work is now largely complete and the north and southbound road layout is in its final alignment. The temporary 30mph speed limit that was in place has been removed, and replaced with a new 50mph limit (enforced by average speed cameras). Work to construct new roadside verges and install a signage gantry will continue overnight when traffic flows are lowest.
Dartford tunnel northbound safety system
A new safety system that will help improve traffic flow while controlling traffic approaching the tunnels from Kent through to Essex. The new safety management cell will identify, stop and turn around vehicles that may pose a safety risk, such as over-sized vehicles or those or carrying dangerous loads, before they enter the tunnels. Highways England’s video and leaflet explain how the new tunnel traffic safety system operates.
Drivers who exceed the speed limits, or drive through red lights are liable to receive fines and points on their licence.
Vehicle restrictions at the Dartford Crossing
The regulations concerning restrictions on use of the tunnels for certain vehicles and fees for longer or wider vehicles may be found here.
Measures to prevent over-height vehicles using the tunnels
The Highways Agency has published more information about a new safety system to help keep the Dartford Crossing operating safely. A new system will detect whether a vehicle is too tall, wide or long to enter the tunnels or whether it is carrying hazardous goods that mean it cannot enter the tunnels or needs to be escorted. Such vehicles will trigger a system of traffic signals and barriers that will stop the vehicle. The barriers will be in the ‘open’ position most of the time, and will only need to be used when a non-compliant vehicle is detected.
The Highways Agency has published guidance for hgv drivers and operators which may be found here.
Highways Agency advice to drivers carrying hazardous materials - arrangements for drivers with hazarous loads are essentially unchanged – drivers should continue to exit at junction 1a and follow signage to the vehicle marshalling area where they can be checked and escorted through the Crossing.
Paying the Dart Charge
Those setting up a pre-pay account for crossing payments will receive a discount from the normal charge and this will be the cheapest way to pay. The accounts can be set-up to top-up manually or automatically.
Read more about setting up a pre-pay account for the Dart Charge on GOV.UK including arrangements for existing Dart-tag customers.
Other payment methods
One-off payments can be made in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.
- online at www.gov.uk/dart-charge
- over the phone by calling 0300 300 0120
- via a payzone retail outlet
- by post (in advance only) to Dart Charge Customer Services PO Box 842 Leeds LS1 9QF
FTA has long called for the introduction of free-flow charging at the Dartford crossing as it is thought that remote payment will help reduce congestion at this pinchpoint. However, in light of the timing of the launch of the new payment scheme, in particular the proximity to Christmas, we will be calling on the Highways Agency to ensure that its contractor prioritises account applications from freight operators.
Download an hgv specific guide to the Dart Charge (in English)
Download a guide to the Dart Charge (multiple languages)
Works to remove the toll booths and change the road layout
Dart Charge FAQs (members only)
Post Go Live core leaflet on the Dart Charge