New Highways England data has suggested those using the Dartford Crossing at peak times could be saving up to 14 minutes per crossing since the introduction of the new Dart Charge payment system.
The body says that journeys over the crossing are up to 56% faster than before payment barriers were removed, with drivers at peak times saving up to 14 minutes southbound and seven minutes northbound.
According to the data, since the introduction of the system in October 2014, average time savings are seven and a half minutes southbound and three and a half minutes northbound.
The improvements have been achieved despite traffic volumes at the Crossing growing by around 4%.
However, the Freight Transport Association has voiced concerns that 'journey reliability' is not certain.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “If an HGV uses the Dartford Crossing several times in a day that would mean a time saving, possibly enabling drivers to travel further before having to take a statutory rest break in accordance with drivers’ hours rules. However it is hard to see what is meaningfully gained by vehicles on cross-Channel journeys which are only likely to gain a few minutes for that journey on just one day.”
The FTA said it supported the improvements at Dartford in terms of the benefits they have delivered for drivers, however the Association says that they are only a short-term fix and another crossing of the Thames must be planned for and built in order to cope with future demand.