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Fewest people using Dartford Crossing since 1998
THE number of vehicles using the Dartford Crossing has fallen to the lowest level since 1998.
New statistics from the Highways Agency reveal that just over 49 million vehicles travelled between Kent and Essex from April 2012 to March 2013.
This was down one-and-a-half million vehicles to the previous year and only 700,000 more than at the same time over fifteen years ago.
The figures also said the average amount of vehicles to make the river crossing in 2012/13 was 134,732 as opposed to 138,760 in 2011/12. The day that saw the most traffic was August 31 2012 when 165,930 made the trip.
Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite told News Shopper: “I think people are at the end of their tether and so exasperated they would do anything not to use the crossing.
“But it means Dartford is losing out on business. However, you can see every day the number has not fallen to a point where congestion stops, then there would be cause for celebration.”
The tolls have been increased twice in the last five years, first in November 2008 where the price for cars rose from £1 to £1.50 and last October where the cost for cars rose to £2.
Last month Roads minister Stephen Hammond confirmed that barriers would be taken down at the toll booths next October to ease congestion.
A Highways Agency spokesperson said: "While the amount of traffic using the Dartford Thurrock River Crossing has decreased slightly over the last few years, traffic flows are expected to increase by a fifth over the next 30 years, due to the anticipated development in the Thames Gateway region.
“Meanwhile, the Crossing still operates over capacity: it was designed to handle up to 135,000 vehicle movements each day, but it is not uncommon for 160,000 to occur."
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