Dartford Crossing tunnel reopens 17 hours after four lorry smash

News Shopper: Two of the lorries involved in the crash, which saw diesel spread across a 70m section of the west bore tunnel (picture by Chris Reeve). Two of the lorries involved in the crash, which saw diesel spread across a 70m section of the west bore tunnel (picture by Chris Reeve).

A tunnel at the Dartford Crossing which was closed for 17 hours following a four-lorry crash and diesel spillage has now reopened. 

The west bore tunnel shut at 12.30pm yesterday after the incident involving four HGVs, which saw the tolls closed north bound to ease congestion.

Traffic at its worst stretched 10 miles back to Junction 4 of the M25 at Orpington. 

News Shopper:

Chaos at the Darenth Interchange yesterday (image by @NPAS_Redhill on Twitter).

The Highways Agency announced at 5.30am this morning that the tunnel is now open after traffic officers worked through the night to clear the carriegeway of fuel and resurface a 70m stretch of road which was covered in diesel.

Congestion got so bad that at 4.30pm the decision was taken to close the tolls northbound.

One motorist told News Shopper drivers stuck at the toll booths were getting out of their cars due to the heat and are enjoying picnics on the side of the road.

Were you caught up in the congestion yesterday? Send us your thoughts and pictures to tim.macfarlan@london.newsquest.co.uk or Tweet @NewsShopperTim

 

 

Comments (23)

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3:42pm Wed 16 Jul 14

cherithporter says...

There's always something at the Dartford Crossing.
There's always something at the Dartford Crossing. cherithporter
  • Score: 9

4:14pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Citygirl83 says...

cherithporter wrote:
There's always something at the Dartford Crossing.
yep every night it brings the M25 and all surrounding roads to a grinding halt.
[quote][p][bold]cherithporter[/bold] wrote: There's always something at the Dartford Crossing.[/p][/quote]yep every night it brings the M25 and all surrounding roads to a grinding halt. Citygirl83
  • Score: 9

6:53pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Richhickson says...

If lorries didn't try to overtake each other (or anything come to mention it.) Particularly inside the tunnel which i have seen on more then one occasion this sort of thing wouldn't happen!
If lorries didn't try to overtake each other (or anything come to mention it.) Particularly inside the tunnel which i have seen on more then one occasion this sort of thing wouldn't happen! Richhickson
  • Score: 18

9:37pm Wed 16 Jul 14

oBLiVioN 70 says...

One look out of the door while planning a trip to greenhithe for shopping resulted in a quick change of plans.... Leave car tucked up in garage, walk to town centre, get essentials, have a few beers (yep they're going down well) then cab home so it's not all bad.....

Maybe free flow will help with removal of all the lanes in to the booths but I doubt it will stop lorries vitrtually on the white lines and other vehichles happily sitting alongside with a few inches to spare at times.
One look out of the door while planning a trip to greenhithe for shopping resulted in a quick change of plans.... Leave car tucked up in garage, walk to town centre, get essentials, have a few beers (yep they're going down well) then cab home so it's not all bad..... Maybe free flow will help with removal of all the lanes in to the booths but I doubt it will stop lorries vitrtually on the white lines and other vehichles happily sitting alongside with a few inches to spare at times. oBLiVioN 70
  • Score: 5

9:42pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Wendy K says...

Disgusting that an Irwin Mitchell ambulance chaser as is in the middle of the story
Disgusting that an Irwin Mitchell ambulance chaser as is in the middle of the story Wendy K
  • Score: -5

11:03pm Wed 16 Jul 14

mainman says...

was the accident at the toll booths as mentioned in the report
was the accident at the toll booths as mentioned in the report mainman
  • Score: 0

8:21am Thu 17 Jul 14

Cet2514 says...

So the incident happened @ the Toll Booths? So when Free Flow starts in October, this sort of incident will not happen as traffic is moving faster?
Also are the local authorities and HA going to look out how to address the congestion caused in Dartford, when these incidents occur? Residents in Dartford have to deal with traffic congestion due to incidents at the Crossing, two or three times a week now.
So the incident happened @ the Toll Booths? So when Free Flow starts in October, this sort of incident will not happen as traffic is moving faster? Also are the local authorities and HA going to look out how to address the congestion caused in Dartford, when these incidents occur? Residents in Dartford have to deal with traffic congestion due to incidents at the Crossing, two or three times a week now. Cet2514
  • Score: 0

8:36am Thu 17 Jul 14

oBLiVioN 70 says...

Seems it happened in the tunnel, perhaps a height restriction on the second lane in each tunnel as with the northbound blackwall would prevent that kind of thing, though breakdowns would cause bigger issues than they do now, but even so, until an idiot restriction is available so you'll still have cars bumping in to lorries and other cars.

Cet2514, this is why we need more crossings but a lot of people can't understand that, the silvertown tunnel is a crazy idea but all of the others are quite a good choice, it's a shame the most that happens is politicians debating about them and residents get up in arms if it goes near them.
Seems it happened in the tunnel, perhaps a height restriction on the second lane in each tunnel as with the northbound blackwall would prevent that kind of thing, though breakdowns would cause bigger issues than they do now, but even so, until an idiot restriction is available so you'll still have cars bumping in to lorries and other cars. Cet2514, this is why we need more crossings but a lot of people can't understand that, the silvertown tunnel is a crazy idea but all of the others are quite a good choice, it's a shame the most that happens is politicians debating about them and residents get up in arms if it goes near them. oBLiVioN 70
  • Score: 4

11:34am Thu 17 Jul 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Steady Eddy S again, that bizz got a bad rep boi.
Steady Eddy S again, that bizz got a bad rep boi. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -6

12:20pm Thu 17 Jul 14

danger2000@hotmail.co.uk says...

this is why we need another crossing built but the MP's are sitting on there fat backsides taking our money and not doing a thing about it come on it needs to be done and stop rejecting the plans for one
this is why we need another crossing built but the MP's are sitting on there fat backsides taking our money and not doing a thing about it come on it needs to be done and stop rejecting the plans for one danger2000@hotmail.co.uk
  • Score: 13

12:51pm Thu 17 Jul 14

reasonable75 says...

Cet2514 wrote:
So the incident happened @ the Toll Booths? So when Free Flow starts in October, this sort of incident will not happen as traffic is moving faster?
Also are the local authorities and HA going to look out how to address the congestion caused in Dartford, when these incidents occur? Residents in Dartford have to deal with traffic congestion due to incidents at the Crossing, two or three times a week now.
But the picture shows the crash inside the tunnel, not at the toll booths

So even once the booths are removed this would still have happened, there is actually more chance of crashes as traffic has to stop to pay - once they've gone people can carry on at speed into the tunnels
[quote][p][bold]Cet2514[/bold] wrote: So the incident happened @ the Toll Booths? So when Free Flow starts in October, this sort of incident will not happen as traffic is moving faster? Also are the local authorities and HA going to look out how to address the congestion caused in Dartford, when these incidents occur? Residents in Dartford have to deal with traffic congestion due to incidents at the Crossing, two or three times a week now.[/p][/quote]But the picture shows the crash inside the tunnel, not at the toll booths So even once the booths are removed this would still have happened, there is actually more chance of crashes as traffic has to stop to pay - once they've gone people can carry on at speed into the tunnels reasonable75
  • Score: 7

4:38pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Bestbaz says...

In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency.
In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency. Bestbaz
  • Score: 11

5:08pm Thu 17 Jul 14

reptiles says...

Bestbaz wrote:
In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency.
It does state NO overtaking and Stay in lane in the tunnels ( i believe) but foreign drivers take no notice, maybe if lanes were wider - which may NOT be possible of if there were barriers between the 2 lanes rather than white lines it might help. Not sure when the tunnels were 1st opened but cars and lorries have got much wider over the yrs.
[quote][p][bold]Bestbaz[/bold] wrote: In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency.[/p][/quote]It does state NO overtaking and Stay in lane in the tunnels ( i believe) but foreign drivers take no notice, maybe if lanes were wider - which may NOT be possible of if there were barriers between the 2 lanes rather than white lines it might help. Not sure when the tunnels were 1st opened but cars and lorries have got much wider over the yrs. reptiles
  • Score: 3

6:49pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Dimpydibbles says...

Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down.
Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down. Dimpydibbles
  • Score: -7

7:04pm Thu 17 Jul 14

oBLiVioN 70 says...

Dimpydibbles wrote:
Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down.
Yes imagine that, all those cars with other options open to them rather than clog up roads nearly ten miles away!
[quote][p][bold]Dimpydibbles[/bold] wrote: Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down.[/p][/quote]Yes imagine that, all those cars with other options open to them rather than clog up roads nearly ten miles away! oBLiVioN 70
  • Score: 14

8:21pm Thu 17 Jul 14

mick_a says...

The old left hand tunnel as you approach has a height limit in the outside lane but there is no height restriction in the right hand tunnel. What didn't help yesterday was that the Blackwall tunnel was also closed but when this reopened just after 3pm the police forgot to switch off the tunnel closed signs on the A2 so traffic which had diverted off the M25 diverted again through Plumstead/Woolwich/L
ewisham etc heading for the Woolwich Ferry/Rotherhithe Tunnel not knowing that the Blackwall Tunnel was actually open.
The old left hand tunnel as you approach has a height limit in the outside lane but there is no height restriction in the right hand tunnel. What didn't help yesterday was that the Blackwall tunnel was also closed but when this reopened just after 3pm the police forgot to switch off the tunnel closed signs on the A2 so traffic which had diverted off the M25 diverted again through Plumstead/Woolwich/L ewisham etc heading for the Woolwich Ferry/Rotherhithe Tunnel not knowing that the Blackwall Tunnel was actually open. mick_a
  • Score: 4

8:25pm Thu 17 Jul 14

mick_a says...

Dimpydibbles wrote:
Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down.
Won't be a problem as there would be an outlet for the traffic. Yesterday the only outlet was the Woolwich ferry. That is why we need more crossings between Blackwall and Dartford so when something like this happens the traffic has somewhere to go.
[quote][p][bold]Dimpydibbles[/bold] wrote: Traffic as far away as Plumstead (residential roads as well as main ones) ground to a halt. Imagine how the problem will be magnified should another 2 -3 bridges be built and the ferries closed down.[/p][/quote]Won't be a problem as there would be an outlet for the traffic. Yesterday the only outlet was the Woolwich ferry. That is why we need more crossings between Blackwall and Dartford so when something like this happens the traffic has somewhere to go. mick_a
  • Score: 14

8:36pm Thu 17 Jul 14

mick_a says...

Bestbaz wrote:
In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency.
That law is only on 2 lane motorways. Also the highways agency can claim for the damage on the insurance of whichever vehicle was at fault.
[quote][p][bold]Bestbaz[/bold] wrote: In Germany during specific hours it is illegal for lorries to overtake. That has proven to cause fewer accidents. Why cant we have this law in the UK, also make it illegal for lorries to overtake in the tunnel or use the outside lane in the tunnel ( inc Blackwall tunnel). The full cost repairing the damage, police time etc should come out of the hauliers pocket, and not the Highways Agency.[/p][/quote]That law is only on 2 lane motorways. Also the highways agency can claim for the damage on the insurance of whichever vehicle was at fault. mick_a
  • Score: 1

8:18am Fri 18 Jul 14

reasonable75 says...

Gypo.Joe wrote:
Steady Eddy S again, that bizz got a bad rep boi.
Wonder if the incident will feature in the next series of the docusoap about Stobart?
[quote][p][bold]Gypo.Joe[/bold] wrote: Steady Eddy S again, that bizz got a bad rep boi.[/p][/quote]Wonder if the incident will feature in the next series of the docusoap about Stobart? reasonable75
  • Score: 8

11:18am Fri 18 Jul 14

MsChevious says...

Wendy K wrote:
Disgusting that an Irwin Mitchell ambulance chaser as is in the middle of the story
Off the point but you realise these are targetted ads relating to your internet activity - mine are for dresses at House of Fraser.

Back on topic, I can't believe people are still opposing additional crossings when an incident like this almost gridlocks the whole of SE London and NW Kent for hours on end. It took me two hours to drive the nine miles home on Wednesday - add to the inconvience the human cost of people missing appointments etc, and the economic impact of people not being able to get to work / the shops and it's a no brainer to sort these roads out!
[quote][p][bold]Wendy K[/bold] wrote: Disgusting that an Irwin Mitchell ambulance chaser as is in the middle of the story[/p][/quote]Off the point but you realise these are targetted ads relating to your internet activity - mine are for dresses at House of Fraser. Back on topic, I can't believe people are still opposing additional crossings when an incident like this almost gridlocks the whole of SE London and NW Kent for hours on end. It took me two hours to drive the nine miles home on Wednesday - add to the inconvience the human cost of people missing appointments etc, and the economic impact of people not being able to get to work / the shops and it's a no brainer to sort these roads out! MsChevious
  • Score: 7

1:05pm Fri 18 Jul 14

marc8888 says...

If Sian Sayer is reading this, are you free for a drink one evening?
If Sian Sayer is reading this, are you free for a drink one evening? marc8888
  • Score: 0

8:53am Sat 19 Jul 14

Marty1979 says...

marc8888 wrote:
If Sian Sayer is reading this, are you free for a drink one evening?
You have more chance if you enquire on Twitter - I doubt she reads NS
[quote][p][bold]marc8888[/bold] wrote: If Sian Sayer is reading this, are you free for a drink one evening?[/p][/quote]You have more chance if you enquire on Twitter - I doubt she reads NS Marty1979
  • Score: 0

9:31pm Thu 24 Jul 14

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  • Score: 0
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