IT WAS supposed to be YT reporter Mike Jones day off. Indeed he went off to Kent to play a nice game of golf in preparation for the Open next week. However, it took him hours to get back to the borough as he was stuck in gridlocked Thurrock on Friday night.
On the A13, Grays resident Mandy Jacobs planned to travel over to Kent for a Friday evening with friends.
Mandy said: “I never got further than the A13. After an hour, I simply gave up and turned back. It was very frustrating and gives the feeling that we a re hostage to the tolls.
The queues stretched on each direction. Traffic tailed back fifteen miles, from Junction 27 on the M11 all the way to the bridge.
The problems seem to have stemmed from a collision in the Blackwall Tunnel.
Mike Jones said: “Like that had never happened before! There seems to be no contingency. The worst period last year was August, so I really fear for the borough then.”
There appeared to be no sign of the tolls being opened.
Earleir this week, business leaders accused Roads Minister Mike Penning of ‘breaking his promise’ over tolls at the Dartford Crossing.
The Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) were furious that the tolls were not suspended during 10 miles of tailbacks at the crossing last Friday – just hours after Mr Penning announced that the tolls would be lifted during severe traffic congestion.
Mr Penning had announced that the Highways Agency would, over the next six months, be able to lift the tolls if an emergency created heavy congestion at the crossing.
He said: “I know how frustrating it is when an emergency incident causes major delays around the crossing. This is why we will trial new guidelines for suspending charges to help traffic flow when congestion is particularly severe.”