UPDATE: Mystery still surrounds reason behind huge rush hour Dartford Crossing delays (From News Shopper)
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UPDATE: Mystery still surrounds reason behind huge rush hour Dartford Crossing delays
MYSTERY surrounds the real reason for the abysmal rush hour motorists using the Dartford Crossing endured yesterday evening.
Delays stretched for miles in both directions at the crossing in both Kent and Essex and it took drivers two hours to cross the Thames.
But the cause of the delays remains a mystery this morning.
The Highways Agency say an Essex Police incident on the A1306 in Thurrock was the root cause.
A spokesman said this incident caused delays on the A13 – and in turn, at the Junction 30 roundabout near Lakeside – which then stretched back onto the M25.
He said: “At 7.15pm there were reports of delays of 120 minutes.
“The queues didn’t quite hit the criteria to suspend the tolls.
“We were monitoring the situation throughout to see whether it required the tolls to be lifted.”
But Essex Police say they were not called to the A1306 – but they did receive a call about a crash on the roundabout at Junction 30.
A spokesman told News Shopper: “Police were called at 5pm following reports of a two-vehicle collision on the M25 at the A13 roundabout.
“Road police officers couldn’t any trace of the incident.”
He added: “There were just massive amounts of traffic.
“Everybody wanted to get into Kent or Essex at the same time.”
Queues stretched back beyond Junction 4 of the anticlockwise M25 at Orpington and as far as Junction 29 at Romford in Essex.
The tolls were shut at the Dartford Tunnels because of the queues on the Essex-side of the M25 and so stationary traffic did not build up in the tunnels.
Meanwhile, the Highways Agency shut the anticlockwise sliproad at Junction 30 to avoid traffic queuing on the approach to the roundabout.
It was re-opened at around 8.30pm.
So when are the tolls lifted at the Dartford Crossing?
The Highways Agency suspends charges at the crossing when traffic reaches back to Junctions 4 and 28 of the M25 and is travelling at less than 10mph.
Spokesman Andrew Broughton said: "The criteria set out have been approved by ministers.
"Traffic is always monitored, and if the target point is reached, the tolls are opened and charges suspended straight away.
"We sometimes get stop-and-start traffic when pockets are moving."
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