Dartford MP Gareth Johnson says someone is going to die at the Dartford crossing unless urgent contingency plans are brought in to stop lengthy traffic jams when an incident occurs.
Last night thousands of people, included tiny babies, were stuck in traffic for up to four hours after a power outage in the tunnels. Mr Johnson said: “I had an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of Highways England today and I told him that my fears that a vulnerable person is going to die whilst trapped in one of these lengthy traffic jams. Every few days people are getting stuck on the motorway, or on Dartford’s surrounding roads, due to a major incident at the crossing.
I contacted the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on his first day in the job and I have explained to him that the situation in Dartford is now unbearable. I am waiting to hear what he will do.
Highways England and I agree that trying to find a solution to this ongoing problem is ten years too late, nothing has been done for so long and now a major issue is an almost daily occurrence. We are now playing catch up. I have told Highways England people want action. We want to know what is being done to try and mitigate these problems.”
Highways England said at the weekend the power outage caused all the systems in the tunnel to stop working and it would have been dangerous to allow traffic to travel through. Highways England claims it will struggle to find many improvements until a new crossing is built, which the Chief Executive believes should be east of Gravesend.
Mr Johnson added; “In the past few months we have had hundreds of letters from people complaining and I know they will be disappointed with Highways England continual claim that journey times are quicker with the free flow. I totally refute these claims, we need a contingency plan now, not next week or next year and I will be doing everything in my power to improve this situation for motorists.”