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Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Road Traffic

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what systems are used for switching on “Q” queuing signs on the Dartford River Crossing approaches; and what (a) traffic levels and (b) other variables trigger the signs. (309416)

The “Q” signs on the approaches to the Dartford River Crossing were unique to Dartford and did not conform to signs used on the rest of the highway network. Their use was terminated in April 2009.

At present, traffic flows are monitored and when operators perceive that congestion has developed on the approach to the crossing, signs warning of queues are set manually.

The Highways Agency are in the process of implementing proposals for variable message signs to display the word “Queue” and be automatically set by the Motorway Incident Detection and Automatic Signalling system based on various factors including traffic levels. This system is expected to operate from April 2010.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport between which points journey time measurements relating to the Dartford River Crossing are monitored on a monthly basis by (a) his Department and (b) the Highways Agency. (309417)

The Dartford Crossing is part of the strategic road network, which is monitored by the Highways Agency.

The crossing lies within one of the routes monitored for progress against the Department for Transport's public service agreement indicator on journey time reliability on the strategic road network. The public service agreement indicator relates to delays rather than specific journey times. Information is collected by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Department.

The indicator route from Junction 30 to Junction 7 of the M25 (clockwise and anti-clockwise) includes the road over the crossing.

Journey time information is also collected by the Highways Agency for each junction to junction link on the motorway network. Links from Junction 30 to Junction 2 of the M25 (clockwise and anti-clockwise) are used to provide journey time estimates for vehicles using the crossing. The crossing itself is most closely represented by links from Junction 31 to Junction 1A of the M25.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the average traffic flow through each of the toll-collecting lanes at the Dartford River Crossing toll plaza during each (a) day and (b) week in the last 12 months. (309422)

The average traffic flow through each of the toll-collecting lanes at the Dartford River Crossing toll plaza during each (a) daily period and (b) week are as follows:

Average traffic flows by lane for the period 13 September 2009 to 2 January 2010, figures for charging period only (06:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)

Lane

Daily

Weekly

1

3,532

24,722

2

4,443

31,102

3

4,934

34,541

4

4,150

29,051

5

4,564

31,947

6

4,691

32,836

7

4,492

31,446

8

4,734

33,136

9

5,020

35,140

10

4,505

31,537

11

4,839

33,873

12

4,630

32,413

13

4,803

33,623

14

4,385

30,698

15

4,672

32,706

16

4,619

32,334

17

4,135

28,943

18

3,933

27,528

19

4,227

29,592

20

4,435

31,042

21

4,860

34,017

22

5,200

36,399

23

5,419

37,934

24

5,032

35,224

25

5,321

37,247

26

5,550

38,852

27

5,559

38,915

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent progress has been made against public service agreement targets relating to congestion at (a) the Dartford River Crossing and (b) roads leading to that crossing. (309423)

On 3 December 2009 the Department published the latest monthly statistics (October 2009) on congestion on inter-urban roads as part of monitoring progress on its public service agreement (PSA) target.

The Dartford River Crossing lies within one of the routes monitored (M25 junction 30 to junction 7) for the PSA target. Table 1 shows the provisional figures for this route for the year ending October 2009.

Table 1: Average vehicle delay (minutes per 10 miles) on the slowest 10 per cent. of journeys on the PSA route incorporating the Dartford Crossing

Road number

Route start point

Route end point

Average vehicle delay year ending March 2008

Average vehicle delay year ending October 2009

M25/A282

J30 Dartford

J7 Redhill

9.46

7.30

M25/A282

J7 Redhill

J30 Dartford

11.35

8.42

Table 2 shows the provisional figures for the year ending October 2009 for the PSA routes approaching the Dartford Crossing.

Table 2: Average vehicle delay (minutes per 10 miles) on the slowest 10 per cent. of journeys on the PSA routes approaching the Dartford Crossing

Road number

Route start point

Route end point

Average vehicle delay year ending March 2008

Average vehicle delay year ending October 2009

A13/A1089

A1089 Tilbury

A13 Aveley

4.86

4.40

A2

London

M2 (J1)

8.42

3.60

A2

M2 (J1)

London

6.49

3.22

M25

J23 Barnet

J30 Dartford

10.63

9.11

This information can be also found on the Department for Transport website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/excel/173025/221412/221546/227050/227328/srnroutes.xls

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether (a) his Department and (b) the Highways Agency has set targets to increase the rate at which vehicles may pass through the Dartford River Crossing toll plaza. (309424)

The Dartford River Crossing is part of the Strategic Road Network which is monitored by the Highways Agency. The Highways Agency’s contract with the Dartford Crossing operator (Connect Plus) has a requirement for a traffic throughput at the Dartford Toll plazas of 5,000 vehicles per hour, without generating traffic queues extending beyond the toll plaza areas.

To monitor performance against this requirement, the average queue length is measured and reported separately for each payment plaza and time of day (peak, off-peak, night). The average toll collection transaction time each month is also measured and reported upon.