Figures show the Dartford crossing has been at least part-closed once every three days in the last year

THE Dartford crossing has been closed – either partly or in full or partly – nearly once every three days in the past 12 months.

In total there has been 108 closures of at least one of the three current crossings in the past year for incidents including maintenance, accidents, road repairs and police incidents.

The numbers were revealed by transport minister Andrew Jones MP after South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe asked in parliament who many closures there had been in the past 12 months and for what reasons.

The one time all crossings were completely shut was overnight on August 15 for the removal and installation of new gantries for the Dart Charge project.

Mr Jones said there had also been 81 occasions when either the bridge or one of the tunnels were closed for planned construction or maintenance works.

There have been nine unplanned bridge closures; twice for high wind and seven for broken down vehicles, collisions and police-led incidents.

In the tunnels, there has been five unplanned closures of the west tunnel, and 12 in the east, including 10 times for traffic incidents, four times broken down vehicles, five collisions, one for a diesel spill, and twice for road repairs.

It was also revealed that the average incident at the crossing takes 27 minutes to be dealt with, but then up to five hours for road to then return back to normal following a build of traffic.

Mr Jones said: “Highways England are continuing to explore ways of reducing incidents and improving clear up times. In the longer term, with a new crossing, there would be increased capacity to cross the river so the effect of any incident would be less extreme.

“If one of the tunnels were to close today, the northbound capacity of the crossing would reduce by 50 percent.

“With the new Lower Thames Crossing in place at either Dartford or Gravesend, a closure of one of the tunnels at the Dartford Crossing would still leave more capacity than exists today without an incident, so recovery times would be much improved.”

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