Cyclists at Dartford Tunnel Crossing

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  • Not too recently. Used it last year. Bit weird having someone come and pick you up in a Land Rover just to drive you over a bridge.

  • Haha Yeah but no ferry on a Sunday...
    Sounds like it’s much the same then

  • @GoatandTricycle did you end up doing this route?
    Thinking of riding it this Friday.
    Any more recent information on the service to cross the bridge? Particularly COVID-up-to-date info? Nothing on the website. But I'd like to avoid sitting in a car with a stranger, if possible.

  • Few weeks ago they wouldn't give me a lift over because I wasn't an essential worker.

    There are notices on the little shelter there.

    Don't know if that has changed, they are workshy AF at the best of times.
    Suggest trying to ring them.

    Got to ride through Rainham RSPB area twice so wasn't all bad.

  • Oh sorry, this is for the bridge, ferry was shut on the day I rode down there.

  • Yeah, as far as I know that is the last crossing of the Thames.

    A lot of fun if the wind and water are up.

  • Looks to be running ok on weekdays, might give them a call before riding down tho

  • Yeah, my experience was a very large van, with crew cab, so you sit in the second row of seats. It’s a great ride.

  • Thanks!
    What about the route? Is it decent or "just to get it done"?

  • It’s pretty good. I did it on an England football match day, traffic was very quiet and was a lovely sunny day.
    Anti clockwise, started from SE4, the Epping corner was a bit odd I ended up going through a field. Shops are a little more spread than I thought they might be from memory. I took in box hill.
    I liked the North point to the West the most I think, also the least known to me at the time.
    Can dig my route out if you like?

  • This was about a week ago, limiting dartford crossing service to one person or three from a household at one time. Was a pic from a club mate who did the london orbital. She was with a doctor though...

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  • Did they ask on the phone if it was essential travel or such? I don't think they'd turn you down once they show up. Will probably also carry a face mask, just in case (it seems to be mandatory on the ferry)

  • If it differs from the one posted above yes please, although I will probably tweak my own version anyway.

  • Nope I must have used that and tweaked.
    Repeating myself but check Epping bit with street view, satellite etc, so you at least know what to expect, you can see the route doubles on itself, I’m still unsure what happened there for me haha

    There was one point NW area where you are on a path along side a carriageway, it was pretty overgrown. Given recent situation might be worse now. Could end up tricky as I recall a bank and barrier to the carriageway at points.

  • Thanks for the heads up, Epping is my neck of the woods, won't go wrong there.

    There was one point NW area where you are on a path along side a carriageway, it was pretty overgrown. Given recent situation might be worse now. Could end up tricky as I recall a bank and barrier to the carriageway at points.

    Those are the fun bits of routes like these ;)

    The Dartford crossing situation is the only unknown at the moment

  • Dartford Crossing as of 12/06/20.
    Decent experience, real shame that such a massive infrastructure doesn't include a simple cycle lane.

    Just me going South, loaded the bike at the back of the van and sat in the back row, further from the driver.

    Face masks to become mandatory from 15/06.

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  • doesn't include a simple cycle lane

    It seems to be a case of 'be careful what you wish for'--the bridge can be subject to very high winds and I understand that wind protection for cyclists could cause high wind load from the side. A structural engineer once told me this about a possible Thames Gateway Bridge, and I've always assumed it applies generally to very high bridges, but happy to stand corrected if not. Obviously, another reason why it wasn't done (and perhaps also the decisive factor in deciding against making the bridge more proof to high winds) was cost, e.g. on-ramps and off-ramps and width.

  • I am a structural engineer myself, trust me when I say there are ways to do this. You could place the cycle lane in the middle and simply have it sheltered by the traffic either side, the bridge itself creates sufficient turbulence that you wouldn't feel that strong lateral blow. Anyway, there are examples of longer bridges with cycle lanes (Golden Gate bridge), it is a matter of cost as you say, but once you're doing a bridge anyway, factoring in the cycle lane is negligible as additional cost (plus the current cycle lane takes you almost to the bridge anyway). Also, if you compare it to running a 24/7 shuttle service for 100/150y (design life span of the bridge), you probably break even (not accounting for the carbon footprint of the van going back and forth, often empty for one leg of the journey)

  • Yeah the Severn and Humber bridges have cycle lanes / service roads on both sides and must be subject to similar wind loading.

    They’re occasionally closed on very windy days. The lanes are a few feet lower than the carriageway and they normally only close the upwind side.

  • I've taught the bridge teams to cycle in the past, they use the same vans to do other jobs/transport around the motorway network from the depot on the south side. They do have extra vans if needed so anyone could potentially hop in and drive someone across but they said they had a rough idea when the regular users of the service would be commuting so often timed jobs to fit. If the depot was in another place the cost of running the shuttle service would be far higher.

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Cyclists at Dartford Tunnel Crossing

Posted by Avatar for Hugh_Janus @Hugh_Janus