Contractor Osborne has installed the Highways Agency’s first all-electronic tolling (AET) gantries on the M25’s Dartford Crossing.
The ‘free-flow’ AET system, dubbed the ‘Dart Charge’, will now be fitted on to the five gantries at the entrance to the Dartford tunnels and on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.
One gantry will carry the signage, and the other four will hold Radio Frequency Identification readers and Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera equipment to detect and identify the vehicles passing under them.
The technology will replace the old toll booths, and means that drivers must pay the toll in advance, or until the midnight the day after using the crossing.
Highways Agency project manager Nigel Gray said: “Completing this first phase of construction successfully is a big milestone in our work to improve the Dartford Crossing for the 170,000 drivers that use it every day. We’ve worked hard to install these five gantries in a way that keeps traffic disruption to an absolute minimum, and we’ll continue this focus as we move on to the next phase of work.”
Erwan Huerre, transition manager at the Connect Plus M25 DBFO consortium, said: “The delivery of the charging gantries is an important milestone in the introduction of Dart Charge, as it enables the installation of the new charging technology. To achieve this, we have overcome a number of challenges including the non-conventional design of the gantries on the approach to the tunnels and complex coordination of works.”
The Highways Agency’s project team comprised Atkins as designer, Osborne as contractor, and the new charging and enforcement operator Sanef ITS.