During the recent daytime traffic chaos resulting from the lane closure approaching Kent Elms Corner on the A127, a growing number of drivers have been turning left illegally into Southbourne Grove without suffering dire life-threatening consequences – this has led to plans for the council to open up this junction as the country’s first ever ‘pay as you use’ left turn.
Using a number plate recognition system like the setup that has already received huge praise at the Dartford Crossing, drivers will be able to turn left here for a fee of £2.00, and users will have until midnight of the following day to pay the fee online. For the convenience of all drivers, payments will not be possible at local convenience stores.
The toll will rise to £6 for articulated lorries of more than 18m in length that wish to turn left, and the charge will be waived for emergency vehicles, taxis, buses and Southend Hospital senior consultants earning more than £55k per year.
Peter Verge, who is in charge of maintaining roadside grass areas in the borough, explained how the toll income will be used. He said, ‘Any profits from this toll will be reinvested in keeping roadside areas looking pretty and floral, with any money left over funding a trial for Congestion Charging in Little Wakering. If this scheme is successful, we may expand it to allow 4×4 vehicles to drive across the grass verge between Southbourne Grove and Kent Elms Corner to skip the queues – a growing number of drivers are already trialling this option.’
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