THE Thames River Crossing’s tolls will go “free flow” on Sunday, 30 November, and Thurrock Council is warning local people to be ready for the change – and the increase in charges.
The council’s Director of Planning and Transportation, David Bull, says: “Local people should ensure they have taken the necessary steps to pay the tolls, that they have the local discount and that they are prepared for delays as the works take place.”
He said: “People need to be aware that things will start to change on the crossing starting on the Friday night – 28 November – of what’s being called the Go Live Weekend and that on the Sunday the price for a single crossing goes up to Â£2.50.
“The Highways Agency has some complex drawings about what will be happening on each day, but basically they plan to close three lanes on the QEII Bridge on Friday, closing the on-slip from the A1306 – Junction 31 between 11pm and 6am.
“This is to create a ‘safe working zone’ around some of the south-bound toll booths.”
Mr Bull explained that between 6am and 10pm four of the south-bound toll booths would be closed throughout the day on the Saturday, possibly leading to congestion.
South-bound traffic will be restricted again on that Saturday night (10pm to 6am) with the slip and three lanes on the bridge closed, but traffic returning to Thurrock would find both tunnels closed and diversions via the A2 to the Blackwall Tunnel and the A13 to Junction 30 of the M25.
From 6am on Sunday, 30 November, the “free-flow tolls” will come into operation, nine booths will remain, but they will not be collecting the new increased toll charge.
But Mr Bull said: “From 10pm on the Sunday the bridge will be closed so a temporary road layout can be created and traffic wanting to head south from Thurrock will have to use the A13, Blackwall Tunnel and A2 to reach the southern section of the M25 motorway. The closure will come in slowly, with the bridge totally shut from 11.30 that night”.
He added: “From 6am on the Monday, the Highways Agency says south-bound traffic should be able to use all four lanes on the bridge and follow the new temporary road layout past the booths.
“North-bound traffic, however, will still have to travel between the booths with the barriers working, although no money will be collected there. This is to prevent over-height vehicles using the tunnels or to stop traffic if there is an emergency.
“This system will continue for some weeks.”
Updated information will be available on the Highways Agency website, which can be reached via thurrock.gov.uk/travel