HIGHWAYS England is advising road users in the South East and East of England that the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, which carries traffic from Essex into Kent at the Dartford Crossing, will be closed from midnight tonight (Wednesday 17 January) for safety reasons, due to high winds, and is expected to re-open after the peak period tomorrow morning (Thursday 18 January).
Highways England will continue to monitor wind speeds closely and will reopen the bridge as soon as winds drop to a safe level. While the bridge is expected to open after the morning rush hour, this could change based on forecast wind speeds. The crossing will remain open with the tunnel operating in both directions when the bridge is closed.
The east tunnel will close at 9pm tonight to allow time to install crossovers in preparation for the bridge closure. The bridge will be closed from midnight, although this may move with the forecast updates. Traffic should have switched to using the tunnels by midnight.
Drivers on the clockwise M25 to take the A282 from Essex into Kent will not be affected until the closure at midnight, at which point they will be diverted through the east tunnel.
Drivers on the anti-clockwise M25 to take the A282 from Kent into Essex via the Dartford Tunnels will be affected from 9pm when the east tunnel is closed to traffic in preparation for the switch and they pass through just the west tunnel.
Planned maintenance work tonight has been cancelled to allow both tunnels to be used for traffic.
Drivers planning to travel are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route. You can get latest forecast from the Met Office and local radio.
Drivers making journeys across the region should be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high sided vehicles, caravans motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space.
Highways England provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms. Local weather information is also available on Twitter at @highwaysSEAST The latest weather forecast can be seen online at www.metoffice.gov.uk