A 12 week consultation on proposals for changes at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing including a potential third crossing has been published, Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman has confirmed.
He said: 'Without intervention now, traffic levels at the crossing will continue to grow. That is why I have also already commissioned research into other methods that might be appropriate to alleviate this expected congestion - including the feasibility of a third crossing.' Government announced that a dedicated study into a third crossing would begin next year (NCE 20 October). Senior engineers contacted by NCE in October urged the government to build a third crossing or risk seeing the M25 paralysed by gridlock even after the planned widening of the motorway improves congestion hot spots to four lanes. Engineers told NCE that the case was indisputable as the approach to the crossing was heavily congested at peak times. They added that the widening of 100km of the M25, which begins in 2008, is set to increase demand even further.The proposals being consulted upon include discounts for those who pay by an electronic 'Dart-Tag' and pre-pay account and free travel at night. The government is also seeking comments on suggestions from local Members of Parliament that discounts be made available for local residents, and comments on proposals for reinvestment of the revenue collected through the charging scheme. Consultation documents are available on the Department for Transport's website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/roads/dartfordconsultation, and at Dartford Borough Council and Thurrock Council offices.