By Local Democracy Reporter
A PETITION has been launched demanding a plan be put in place to minimise disruption caused whenever the Dartford Crossing is closed.
Thousands of people were caught in horrendous logjams – with about 200 able to rest at Ikea – after an overturned lorry blocked the Dartford Crossing for hours on August 28.
One of the lorries toppled over an embankment, hanging precariously over a slip road near the QEII bridge.
And although two drivers came off with minor injuries, motorists on the M25 and on both sides of the crossing approach were left stuck in their cars for more than seven hours before lanes were re-opened.
Parts of the stretch had to be re-surfaced due to a reported diesel spillage.
Those who were left waiting near Thurrock’s Ikea, next to the intu Lakeside Shopping Centre, were forced to stop off there, with some relaxing in the ready made beds on display.
The crossing, that handles more than 150,000 crossings a day, has seen several incidents recently, leaving motorists stranded in long tail backs.
In March this year a crash between three lorries closed the M25 in Kent near junction 1a for about nine hours, leading to queues of around eight miles back into Essex.
In November 2017 a crash on the M25, which completely shut the QEII Bridge caused traffic chaos for Essex commuters.
The petition is now asking for agencies involved in dealing with the aftermath of serious incidents on the m25 at the Thames crossing to prepare better.
In the meantime the Government has praised Highways England traffic officers and their partners for the swift work in reopening the A14 that otherwise would have “caused chaos” after a lorry struck the underside of a low bridge on August 22.
The petition asks Thurrock Council, Highways England and Essex Police to “stop Thurrock gridlock during QE2 bridge closures” and to “come up with a plan to avoid future disruption caused by closure of the bridge, both on the M25 and local surrounding roads (Thurrock/Lakeside/Grays/Purfleet) while we are waiting for the construction and opening of the new Lower Thames Crossing which will take at least ten years to be in operation, and improve the speed at which accidents are dealt with and clean up operations are put in place.”
It adds on August 28 “The QEII Bridge was closed from 2.20pm and not fully re-opened until 6am the following morning.
“During this time, local people and people from further afield were held up in hours and hours of delays with completely gridlocked traffic.
“This is becoming more frequent as the area gets busier and more development takes place. There must be plans in place to stop total and utter gridlock to our area.
“This not only disrupts local residents, it is detrimental to all the business who operate out of this area.
“So many hours are lost due to sitting in unnecessary traffic jams. Something must be done.”
Essex Police, Thurrock Council and Highways England have been approached for comment.