Tackling Dartford Tunnel congestion
Andrew Baxter, the MD of the logistics operator Europa Worldwide Group, has launched a campaign to tackle the traffic jams at the Dartford Tunnel – by proposing that all oversized and hazardous goods vehicles are redirected the other way around the M25. At the moment, traffic on the notoriously busy Dartford Crossing route is brought to a standstill on a daily basis because every time an oversized or hazardous goods vehicle enters the crossing it needs to be escorted in a convoy.
According to Baxter: “Whenever there is a convoy, all other traffic has to stop. On average, 100 convoys go through the crossing a day – and traffic has to stop to accommodate them.”
Highways England has stated that traffic stops for between 1.5 and 2.5 minutes every time there is a convoy.
“In total, convoy vehicles represent less than 1% of the total traffic through the tunnel,” said Baxter, “therefore it seems unjust to me that 99% of vehicles are delayed to accommodate them.
“My suggestion is simple: stop the convoys and divert these oversized and hazardous vehicles the other way around the M25. I believe that the environmental and economic damage of creating traffic jams on the M25 are much worse than sending a small number of vehicles the other way around the M25.”
Baxter added that another important factor to easing traffic flow at the tunnels would be to look at the height restriction on the left hand tunnel.
Currently, the left tunnel can’t be used by vehicles in excess of 4.8m – which is frustratingly just 5cm below the standard double decker trailer height.
Baxter commented: “I believe there should be a full investigation into increasing the height restriction in the left tunnel by 5cm. This would mean both tunnels could be used by standard double decked trailers which are 4.85m tall. I would like to know if it is possible to adjust or replace the fans and other equipment in the left tunnel with less space intensive units. This has never been investigated, which I think is shocking.”
The Dartford Crossing is close to Europa’s 1hub headquarters, so the company has a strong interest in speeding up the traffic – but then so do the many other logistics companies and commuters who use the route on a daily basis.
Baxter is urging people to sign the petition to Stop The Convoys (at www.stoptheconvoys.com) so “we can more or less remove the congestion at the Dartford Tunnel”.