Bridge to undergo improvement works for two years

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The Dartford Crossing will shut overnight on certain dates during the next two years to allow for bridge improvement works.

A scheme to improve the quality of journeys over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge will see the replacement of the expansion joints which allow the bridge to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature.

Highways Agency chief, Tommy Whittingham, said: “This routine work will make journeys smoother and will ensure the ongoing safety of the bridge for the thousands of drivers who use this crossing every day. Once installed, the new joints should have a shelf-life of at least 45 years.

“We have carefully planned this work to cause as little disruption as possible, so, although it will be carried out over a lengthy period, because it will take place overnight, using lane closures, and a series of Saturday night closures, the impact on road users has been planned to be minimal.”

The work will be carried out in phases across the bridge over a two-year period, starting on April 6. There will be periods of overnight lane closures, between 8.30pm and 5.30am on Monday to Friday nights only, and some full closures of the bridge on Saturday nights. Throughout the rest of 2013 there are planned to be four full Saturday night closures of the bridge, between 10pm and 5am, for work including preparations and resurfacing; and seven extended Saturday night closures, between 8pm and 10am, for larger scale work including installation of the new joints.

During these full closures traffic will be diverted through the east bore of the tunnel, with northbound traffic using the west bore only. This already happens when the bridge is closed for maintenance.

All the closures will be publicised in advance.

The planned overnight closures include

* 10pm, Saturday, April 6 – 5am, Sunday, April 7

* 8pm, Saturday, May 11 – 10am, Sunday, May 12

* 8pm, Saturday, June 22 – 10am, Sunday, June 23

* 10pm, Saturday, July 6 - 5am, Sunday, July 7

Visit www.highways.gov.uk/traffic for more information.

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