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19 September 2014, 14:58
New payment arrangements will come into effect at the Dartford Crossing during late November, the Highways Agency announced today.
Registration for pre-pay accounts will open well in advance of these changes.
The full benefits of the scheme will be delivered by the end of April 2015, when all changes to the road layout will be completed.
The website, systems and infrastructure needed to operate these new arrangements have been installed and are currently being tested to ensure that they operate reliably and are easy to use.
The timetable will ensure that drivers have enough notice to prepare for the changes and that the system is fully tested before it is introduced.
Highways Agency project leader Nigel Gray said:
"Dart Charge is a massive change for drivers using the Dartford Crossing and it?s only right that it is thoroughly tested before being introduced.
"We want to help drivers to be ready for the improvements we're making at the Crossing. That's why we are saying today that Dart Charge will start during late November. We can reassure drivers that we'll give them plenty of notice before the changes are introduced. They will have considerable time to sign up for a pre-pay account, which for most will be the easiest and cheapest way to pay the charge - with discounts of up to a third on every crossing."
Until Dart Charge goes live, the current payment arrangements for the road user charge at the Crossing will continue - cash at the Crossing, through a DART-Tag or local residents account.
The delay of the introduction of - free-flow - tolls at Dartford River Crossing disappointing as it may present additional costs to industry; is the message from the Freight Transport Association (FTA). The Association has voiced its concern in response to today's announcement by the Highways Agency that the planned technology to allow motorists to use the crossing without having to stop at barriers and pay is to be delayed by up to four weeks.
Originally planned to be in place by the 28 October 2014, the HA has now said that the system will now not be ready to use until late November.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA's Head of Road Network Management Policy said:
"This is disappointing news that the free-flow tolling at Dartford is now to be delayed - the costs of this hold-up are unacceptable to the freight industry. FTA has been asking for a long time for this system to be introduced as this is the appropriate way forward in order to reduce a good deal of administration costs for the freight industry in dealing with tolls, charges and queues at the crossing."