Six And A Half Hours Later Than Planned

Today’s plan was reasonably simple. Head to Costco for lunch and a bit of shopping then head home and watch some TV. I expected to be back for about 16:00 [BST]. It initially went well. The lunch was bought and the stuff purchased, the car was filled and I went to leave the car park. Except I couldn’t because the road was busy. So I drove to the other exit thinking I’d go out by Ikea and head to the A13 and join the M25 there. But that way was blocked with traffic too. That was when I decided to look at my phone and see what Google maps was saying about the traffic.

It was fucked.

The maps app was reporting that the QE II bridge was closed. North and southbound. Bugger. I needed to use that to get back home. Alternatives exist but they are a pain and involve London.

Classic Dartford
Classic Dartford

Apparently two trucks had collided on the north side of the bridge. This meant both tunnel and bridge were closed. This meant the entire area because a car park. I decided to stop in the official car park I hadn’t left and leave the car and try and waste some time so I would start again when at least the traffic was moving a little.

I walked to Ikea, wandered around, found a few things to buy and then also went to the restaurant and ate some food. Periodically I would check twitter and maps to see if there was any movement. There was not.

I then thought it might be worth joining a queue again and maybe we would move a car’s length every minute or so, at least make some progress. So I drove to the Costco exit and joined a queue. The only times I moved forward was when a car not far ahead pulled a U-ey and we all move one car length. After an hour I turned around and parked in Costco again. To be honest I had made it about 50 m from the car park exit in that time so it wasn’t really like I had left!

A cuppa and toilet break in Costco and time to spend a little longer wasting time hoping that something would move soon. It wouldn’t.

Eventual Route
Eventual Route

While still trying to get out of Ikea and head directly north to the A13 it struck me it that heading south [the blue lines] and then heading east might work. The traffic seemed to be moving in those directions. Maybe I could then head north to the A127, rejoin the M25 or head into London.

Final Route - ish
Final Route – ish

The roads seemed reasonably clear. I got on the M25 anti-clockwise and I just kept following Google Maps. I headed down the M11, around the Olympic stadium in Stratford and then there were slight delays on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel. After that there were no more delays. I think they had started to open the Dartford Tunnels at some point because the traffic seemed to be moving north at that point. The M25 was delayed and stopped from Dartford to about Stapelford Tawney, the delays were immense.

My overall thoughts are that I am glad no one was badly injured. Yes, it caused huge delays and would have cost a lot of money because of those delays, but hopefully everyone got home OK.

I got home around 22:30 [BST]. A little later than planned. I’m not annoyed. I almost enjoyed the adventure of it all. I had looked at cinema times but there were no suitable films, I had looked at booking into the Travelodge over the road but it was full, I had considered driving to my parents’ house but the issue was getting out of the car park!

The trucks had spilled fuel over the road and this meant it needed to be resurfaced. They also managed to crash just before the slip way for southbound traffic to enter the tunnel. Therefore there was no alternative to shutting the entire crossing.

Next time, for there will be another time, I will do my best to look at the roads heading in the opposite direction. Had I thought of that earlier I think I could have been home around 19:00 [BST]. Oh well.