Following a meeting with Transport Secretary Mike Penning yesterday(26th) Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price has revealed exclusively to yourthurrock that he (Penning) has instructed his team to progress with exploring the feasibility of total removal of the toll booths at the Dartford Crossing and replacing the barriers with camera technology similar to that used to collect the London Congestion Charge.
These proposals will be in place by the end of 2012. One fly in the ointment is how to collect the toll from foreign vehicles
Before you rub your hands with glee, dear motorist, the cost of this project is estimated to be £100 million pounds. The government estimates that in just two years they will recapture the cost of the demolition and camera replacement. So that’s £50 million a year its taking now and a sum which the government cannot afford to do with out.
Jackie Doyle Price and her neighbour Stephen Metcalfe are fighting long and hard to scrap the tolls but it seems they are virtually powerless to stop these measures.
It also appears that the proposed crossing further down the river has just become more likely to happen as well.
Jackie also discussed at length with the minister the problem of Junction 30 on the M25 and promised improvements which seem to have been put on hold. Only this morning, one broken down lorry caused tailbacks to junction 29.
To the layman removal of the barriers is good news. For every truck, car and van that has endured hours of misery because of this red light across Europe’s busiest motorway this will speed their journey. To do away with the toll altogether is the most sensible solution which would negate the need for the £100m and several billion pounds to build another crossing. But then the layman is also a realist and knows this is just not going to happen.