Second Dartford Tunnel

The Queen Elizabeth Bridge, carrying southbound traffic, can be seen high above to the right. This carriageway, the northbound, occupies both the original Dartford Tunnel (which, when built, carried traffic in both directions in a single bore) and the second Dartford Tunnel (built to relieve traffic pressure on the first by providing a dedicated southbound tunnel, whereupon the first became northbound only). The photograph shows the approach to the later, eastern tunnel. Both tunnels now carry only northbound traffic, southbound going over the bridge.

The Dartford - Thurrock River Crossing, Dartford River Crossing (DRC) is a major road crossing of the River Thames in England, connecting Dartford in the south to Thurrock in the north, via two road tunnels and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. It opened in stages, the west tunnel in 1963, the east tunnel in 1980, and the bridge in 1991. Until the opening of the bridge, built to the east of the two tunnels, the crossing was known as the Dartford Tunnel.

The first Dartford tunnel was built at a cost of £13 million and opened to traffic in November 1963. Early estimates of 2 million vehicles a year more than doubled in the first year of operation. Very quickly it was realised that a second tunnel was needed. The second tunnel took eight years to build and opened to traffic in May 1980, at a cost of £45 million

The two tunnels are 1,430 m (1,560 yd) long.