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House of Commons Hansard
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Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Tolls
11 November 2009
Volume 499
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To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the change in (a) the average delay time experienced by drivers and (b) levels of carbon emissions resulting from that change as a result of recent changes to the toll payment arrangements at the Dartford Crossing; and if he will take steps to reduce (i) congestion and (ii) carbon emissions on the A282 on the approaches to the Dartford Crossing. [296400]

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Between M25 junction 2 and M25 junction 30, (which includes the Dartford Crossing) the estimated average delay per journey during the period March to August 2009 compared to the same months in 2008 decreased by 0.4 minutes northbound and increased by 0.7 minutes southbound.

The months of March to August have been used for comparison of average delays per journey before and after the revised charges came into effect on 15 November 2008.

The Department has made no specific estimates of the levels of carbon emissions resulting from the revision of the charges in November 2008.

The Department for Transport and the Highways Agency are committed to improving the levels of service experienced by users of the Dartford Crossing.

In the short term the Highways Agency are in the process of implementing a package of measures, including the introduction of average speed cameras and further traffic management technology, to reduce the number of incidents at the Crossing, which will improve journey times.

Additionally, in April 2009, the Department published its initial analysis of the current and possible future capacity constraints at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. On the basis of the findings and conclusions of the analysis, we announced further work to investigate what can be done in the short to medium term to improve the level of service provided by the existing Crossing.

The study recommended further work on two possible measures, recognising that each had the potential to generate some small benefits by increasing throughput while avoiding impacts on safety. The first set of measures could see changes to the configuration of the toll plaza, signing and promotion of DART-Tags to see whether this would improve traffic flows. The second set of measures could entail one-way tolling with the removal of the southbound plaza to allow a larger improved northbound plaza. This work is being taken forward and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.