New Dartford Crossing needs more cool stuff
Last time I used the Dartford Crossing, I was too young to really remember it. I was vaguely aware that there was a big bridge and a lot of congestion on the east side of London, but I very rarely have any reason to head up that way.
The reason I never go up that way is because the Dartford Crossing is home to my two nemeses: queues and toll booths. A 3am tolls-exempt trip to Essex was therefore the perfect excuse to cross this one from my world's most tedious bucket list.
I was expecting a glimpse of the crossing to raise a smile against the depressing reality of my early-morning M25 journey as I have gone on record in support of big bridges before, but I did not expect to head through it quite as giddy as I did. How can you not be exciting by this urban rollercoaster - there's just so much to look at! The tedium of motorway disappears into past, replaced by dramatic signs, drops, an extremely tall bridge, escape lanes, seemingly random traffic lights, electronic signs, tunnel police and a tunnel. It is the most fun I've ever had on wheels.
This is all very timely. In the news today we hear that the consultation on plans to build a new, Lower Thames Crossing, are progressing and currently at the consultation stage. As ever, environmentalists are campaigning against it and those who work are campaigning for it, and both make good points. But one thing I have made clear in my reply to the consultation is that if this new Lower Thames Crossing is going to be worth its salt, it is going to need a lot of cool stuff to look at.