UPDATE: QE2 Bridge at Dartford Crossing to shut between midnight and 3am as high winds hit (From News Shopper)
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UPDATE: QE2 Bridge at Dartford Crossing to shut between midnight and 3am as high winds hit
THE QE2 Bridge at the Dartford Crossing is expected to close between midnight and 3am tomorrow morning, according to the Highways Agency this evening.
A reduced speed limit has been in place on the bridge since around 4pm this afternoon but the full closure is expected to be put in place soon.
Highways Agency emergency planning manager Steve Bush said: "This is a well-practiced contingency plan, similar to the arrangements used when maintenance is carried out on the bridge at Dartford.
"However, we would still ask road users to be aware of the potential congestion the closure may cause if the bridge closure has to remain on towards the peak travel time, and check before travelling."
He added: "Wind speed in the area is predicted to reach the level at which the bridge has to be closed for safety some time between midnight and 03:00, but the Highways Agency will be monitoring wind speeds closely and will close the bridge only when necessary, and reopen it as soon as it is safe to do so.
"There is a strong possibility this will impact on the early Monday rush hour, so road users are being urged to plan ahead, check the traffic and weather conditions before travelling, and consider delaying their journeys if they are not essential."
Highways Agency rules say when crosswind speeds at the Dartford Crossing are greater than 60mph, the QE2 Bridge must to all traffic.
The rules state when the crosswind speed reaches 60mph or the headwind speed reaches 50mph, the speed limit on the QE2 Bridge will be reduced from 50mph to 30mph.
If crosswind speed reaches 55mph or headwind speed tops 65mph, two of the four lanes will be shut to drivers.
And then when crosswind hits 60mph or headwind is 70mph, the bridge must be shut to all drivers.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “This Protocol is to ensure the users of the QE2 Bridge are protected against an accident caused by high winds on this high exposed structure.
“The protocol is based upon the wind speeds and direction measured by the Dartford Crossing anemometers located on the QE2 Bridge and forecast data received from the Meteorological office.
“Closed means all types of vehicle are prohibited.
“There is no differentiation made between high sided vehicles and other forms of traffic.”
He added: “The decision to implement speed limits, lane restrictions or the full closure of the QE2 Bridge is the responsibility of a senior member of Connect Plus, the operator of the Dartford Crossing.”
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