Highways England have launched a consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing – a major new road which would nearly double road capacity across the River Thames and almost halve northbound journey times.
The 14.5mile route connecting Gravesham in Kent and Thurrock in Essex would be a three lane motorway connecting the M2 near Rochester in Medway and the M25 in Essex between North and South Ockenden. It would include a 2.4mile-long tunnel under the Thames between the east of Gravesend and Tilbury – the longest road tunnel in the UK – and, at more than 50feet wide, the third largest bored tunnel in the world.
'We fully support the proposal for an additional crossing'
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We fully support the proposal for an additional crossing and investment in the wider road network. A Lower Thames Crossing will not only reduce congestion on the Dartford Crossing, but it will also bring with it economic benefits to both sides of the river; it will bring more visitors into the south-east and would benefit commuters.
“Medway is fast becoming known as the new economic powerhouse for the south-east, and although we already have great transport connections, such as a high speed rail service into central London, a new crossing will be a major catalyst to drive further economic development.
“We will be submitting a response to Highways England’s consultation and would encourage residents and businesses to attend a consultation event to find out more about the proposal and how the crossing would affect them, as well as provide their feedback.”
Tim Jones, Project Director for Lower Thames Crossing, said: “For too long the Dartford Crossing has been the only way to get across the Thames east of London. It is a vital gateway, but carries more traffic that is was ever designed for and drivers there suffer from regular delays, severing communities and holding back economic growth.
"The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious project of its kind ever in the UK and the biggest single road upgrade since the M25 was completed more than 30 years ago. It would almost double road capacity across the Thames to cut congestion, end the daily delays at the Dartford Crossing and boosting the resilience of the whole road network. This consultation is an important opportunity for people to share their views on our proposals and help shape the Lower Thames Crossing."
On the south side of the Thames, the new road will link the tunnel to the A2 and M2 in Kent. On the north side of the river, it will link to the A13 in Thurrock and then junction 29 of the M25 in the London Borough of Havering.
The Lower Thames Crossing will be made up of:
- A 2.4-mile (4km) tunnel
- Approximately 14.5 miles (23km) of new road connecting the tunnel to the existing road network
- 3 lanes in both directions with a maximum speed limit of 70mph
- New structures (including bridges, viaducts and an underpass) along the length of the new road
- Improvements to the M25, A2 and A13, where the Lower Thames Crossing connects to them
Public information events
More than 25 public information events are being held across Kent and Essex. Additionally a mobile information van will visit 30 local communities to help people understand more about the proposals and put any questions directly to the project team. At each event, specialists will be on hand to explain the proposed route, how it would be built and operated, and how Highways England plan to minimise the impact on the local environment and community.
The Medway event is being held at Rochester Corn Exchange, Northgate, Rochester, ME1 1LS, on Wednesday 5 December, from 2pm to 9pm.
Get more information on the Lower Thames Consultation and the public information events.