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Disagreements over Dartford Crossing after thousands get stranded in high winds
2:29pm Monday 13th January 2014 in News
A POLITICIAN has called on ministers to act after closures of the Dartford Crossing left thousands of motorists stranded over the festive period.
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price wants the Government to assess the road network after the QE2 bridge was closed on three separate occassions in recent weeks because of high winds.
The M25 and nearby roads were left gridlocked over the festive season because of the closures.
Stormy weather forced the crossing, which links Dartford to Thurrock to shut down for long periods on December 23, 30 and New Year’s Day.
The Tory's Ms Doyle-Price wants the Government’s emergency planning committee - Cobra - to look into the situation.
She said: "I am convinced if a proper look is taken, the government would conclude we need a new outer ring road to complement the M25 and ensure there is resilience in the road network."
Other politicians were not as convinced of a need for committee intervention.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: “Closures of the crossing are always very frustrating.
“It’s difficult to see how we can prevent the bridge being closed in very high winds but removing the toll booths will vastly improve the flow of traffic. For me that can’t come soon enough.”
Gravesham MP Adam Holloway said: "There are always those two tunnels if in some sorts of wind you can’t use the bridge.
"As for additional crossings, let’s wait until the tolls come off at Dartford to see if we need one."
Motorists questioned why the toll barriers at the Dartford Tunnel were not lifted to improve traffic flow when the bridge closed.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency: "The existing barriers would never be lifted permanently as they control traffic.
"Queues need to be 10 miles long on the M25 for charges to be lifted, which they were not on either of the three occasions.
"Suspending the charge is to provide congestion relief in and around Dartford and Thurrock, not just on the M25."
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