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New rules for HGVs at Dartford Tunnel: don’t get caught out

Jun 15, 2015
The Freight Transport Association is urging members to make their drivers aware of changes to the Dartford Tunnel approach that came into force on 13 June.

Following the introduction of Dart Charge in November, a new traffic safety system has been put in place to identify oversized vehicles and those carrying hazardous goods.  Traffic lights and automatic barriers will stop lorries continuing through the tunnel in the wrong lane and drivers face fines and potential points on their licence if they don’t comply with the restrictions.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London said, “The new road layout could lead to confusion and drivers who fail to follow the signs face penalties, so we are encouraging our members to update their staff on the new regulations.”

The changes are designed to keep traffic flowing through the tunnel and reduce disruption for motorists.  Previously all vehicles were held at the toll booths while an over height vehicle was re-routed.

Vehicles 4.8m high or less can travel in any lane but those above 4.8m must approach in the two right-hand lanes after junction 1a to travel through the higher east bore tunnel.  Lorries over 5m are too tall for either tunnel and must leave at junction 1a.  HGVs found to be in the wrong lane will be stopped by a red traffic light and barrier system and turned back to junction 1b.

Full details of the new system, including links to a Highways England video and information leaflet, can be found on the FTA website (

Photo: The Dartford Crossing

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