Motorists heading into London faced traffic chaos on Thursday morning (September 22) after two major motorways were held up.

Motorists approaching the Dartford Crossing were left stuck in traffic for up to five hours after one of the two tunnels was closed overnight, just two weeks after a power failure caused similar gridlock and tailbacks.

Richie Moore who wrote on Twitter: “Five chuffing hours I was stuck two miles from Dartford Tunnel.”

The delays come as more than 11,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a public inquiry into the crossing’s operation amid claims that improvement works have been “botched”.

Haulier Alan Pattison, who is behind the petition, said the removal of toll booths in favour of online or phone payments has improved the southbound crossing but made the northbound journey “abysmal”.

He told the BBC : “If there’s the slightest incident, the dealing with it is so slow. This year alone we’re looking at £4-5,000 worth of losses due to traffic disruption.”

M40 explosions

And London-bound carriageway of the M40 in Buckinghamshire was shut after a mobile crane exploded late on Wednesday. Around 35 firefighters were called to the incident near Gerrards Cross.

A 96-tonne crane caught after leaking hydraulic fluid. There were a number of small explosions but no injuries. and witnesses spoke of hearing a number of explosions, but there were no reports of injuries.

The clear-up operation is expected to last much of the day. Highways England warned motorists heading into London to expect long delays as one lane remains closed for a clear-up of debris.

Highways England said: “The lane closure will remain in place all day for safety reasons due to serious damage on the road surface, which is planned to be resurfaced tonight.

“Road users are advised to plan ahead as delays are anticipated during this morning’s peak time on the approach to the lane closure.”