Dartford Crossing artists impression

Several car transporter operators have been in contact with The Hub this week to express their concerns with what appears to be a recent change in policy at the Dartford Crossing.

Operators claimed that car transporters are being treated as vehicles that exceed the size restrictions for the northbound tunnels for the first time.

They said drivers are being stopped and charged up to £42 for an escort by Connect Plus through the tunnels, a requirement they claimed was not in place before this week.

One owner-operator, who wished to remain anonymous, said is not only causing problems for drivers and hauliers but also other road users, as all traffic is stopped to allow the transporters to move from the right-hand lane into the far left lane to be escorted through the tunnel.

“The new signs say that high vehicles should get in the right hand lane,” he added.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency confirmed the overall length restriction for vehicles (and their loads) using the tunnels is 18.75m- the total length of a car transporter vehicle.

He stressed that the vehicle dimension restrictions do include loads, so hauliers should be aware that any load overhanging the car transporter (ie. the cars being moved), will also be measured and taken into account.

According to an amendment to the Dartford-Thurrock Crossing Regulations last year, the fee for vehicles that exceed 18.75m in length is £42 for passage through the tunnels between the hours of 6am and 10pm. This is then reduced to £21 after 10pm.

The Hub is interested to hear from any operators who have been affected.