The UK’s Highways Agency has unveiled a new payment arrangement called Dart Charge, which will improve journeys and reduce congestion at the Dartford Crossing.

According to the Highways Agency, the new project is part of the biggest road improvement programme since the 1970s’ and will create 300 new jobs.

With the implementation of the new project, drivers will not have to stop at payment booths, but will have more flexibility about how and when they pay the charge.

"I believe this is the start of a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship."

French motorway operator Sanef will be providing the scheme’s vehicle detection, charging and enforcement services and will be investing more than £1m in a new customer support centre in Leeds that will create up to 300 jobs, including ten new apprenticeships.

The Highways Agency is also creating an additional 23 jobs at its national traffic control centre in Birmingham, which will be responsible for the service and performance management of Dart Charge.

Highways Agency project manager Nigel Gray said that Dart Charge will benefit the economy by improving journeys at the crossing, and these new jobs are proof that the economic gains from the project will be felt far beyond the Dartford Crossing itself.

"We are working hard to get ready for go live in October and staff in these posts will help drivers to set up and manage their accounts, which will be the easiest and cheapest way for drivers to use the crossing," Gray said.

Sanef Tolling CEO Charles Hewson said the company is looking forward to working on delivering an excellent solution for both the motorist and the Highways Agency.

"Leeds has been chosen due to its significant experience in contact centre operations, along with its highly skilled and educated work force, and I believe this is the start of a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship," Hewson said.