Protocol for operating the A282 Dartford – Thurrock River Crossing during periods of strong winds
This Protocol is to ensure the users of the Queen Elizabeth II (QE II) Bridge are protected against an accident caused by high winds on this high exposed structure. The Protocol is based upon the wind speeds and direction measured by the Dartford – Thurrock River Crossing anemometers located on the QE II Bridge, and forecast data received from the Meteorological office. In the text below, “closed” means all types of vehicle are prohibited.
There is no differentiation made between high sided vehicles and other forms of traffic.
The decision to implement speed limits, lane restrictions or the full closure of the QE II Bridge is the responsibility of a senior member of Connect Plus, the operator of the Dartford – Thurrock River Crossing. This decision is based on the criteria below and an appropriate risk assessment.
When the QE II Bridge is closed, vehicles wishing to continue southbound via the Dartford – Thurrock River Crossing will be diverted through the east tunnel (height restriction 5.03 metres/16’ 6’’). Northbound traffic through the Crossing will be restricted to the west tunnel (height restriction 4.80 metres/15’ 9’’).
1. When the crosswind speed reaches 50 mph or the headwind speed reaches 60 mph, the matrix and variable speed limit signs at the Crossing will be activated to show an advisory limit of 30 mph.
2. When the crosswind speed reaches 55 mph or the headwind speed reaches 65 mph, lane closures will be introduced. If the wind is from the east, lanes 2&4 will be closed; if the wind is from the west, lanes 1&3 will be closed.
3. When the on-site anemometers and Met office forecast predicts the crosswind speeds increasing to over 60 mph, the QE II Bridge will be closed to all traffic. When the on-site anemometers and Met office forecast predicts the headwind speed increasing to 70 mph, the QE II Bridge will be closed to all traffic.
4. It maybe necessary to implement restrictions based on the gusts of wind measured, even though the average wind speed is below the thresholds listed above.
5. Thespeedlimit,lanerestrictionsorfullclosurewillremaininplaceuntil the high winds have passed.