Returning from Bournemouth yesterday I was one of thousands caught in traffic chaos because of the closure of the Dartford Crossing. I left Bournemouth at 16.00 and seven-and-a-half hours later I arrived home tired and ready for bed.
Traffic heading east on the Kent side of the Crossing repeatedly came to a standstill. Ambulances, police vehicles and a bomb disposal vehicle made their way towards the Crossing. Lorries parked on the hard shoulder contributed to the obstacle course.
Apparently, a man on foot acting in an alarming way near the toll booths had triggered a security lockdown.
Communication between motorists and those controlling the Crossing were poor. The illuminated signs simply stated that the Dartford Tunnel was closed; likewise the M25 at Junction 2. There were no directions for people to follow. I tuned into Capital Radio and heard that there was a security incident.
I was forced to take the A2 towards the Blackwell Tunnel. Tailbacks stretched for 9 miles. Once through the Tunnel, progress on the A13 to Lakeside and Southend-on-Sea was good, but there were jams on the other side of the road.
Considering the long delays, people remained remarkably cool. Only once did I hear a prolonged blast of a car horn, perhaps made because of anger, annoyance or frustration.
I took the accompanying photo when traffic was at a standstill.