Lower Thames Crossing plans go public - Have your say!

Published: 11 October 2018

Lower Thames Crossing plans go public - Have your say!
The plans for another Thames crossing have been on the cards for quite some time in an attempt to combat the build-up of traffic that continuously causes mayhem for drivers using the QE2 bridge, in addition to the heavily criticised dart charge that recently increased in price for some drivers.

The crossing will give drivers access to a three-lane carriageway, which is predicted to be able to handle traffic up to double the amount of the current crossing for the Thames. Highways England announced the scheme has been released for public consultation, it is set to have a budget of £6bn.

Drivers will be able to access areas in Essex and Kent much easier thanks to junctions across the route including at the M2, A13 and M25. Officials are considering this the most ambitious project on the roads since the M25 was developed. The project is set to be completed and ready for road users by 2027.
Local residents and councils have expressed their outrage regarding the scheme, reminding Highways England that the project could destroy wetlands and it would lead to increased fuel consumption in the area less than a week following the UN’s warnings regarding the environment.

Highways England hopes the project will move 14 million vehicles per year away from the Dartford Crossing and reduce build-up of traffic in the area overall. The project is set to be 14.5 miles long, with 2.4 miles below the Thames. 

Transport secretary: Chris Grayling, spoke on why he approved development in April 2017, stating it would: “help transform journeys, create new business opportunities in Kent and Essex and unlock productivity across the UK … and cut congestion at the Dartford Crossing and improve connectivity from our industrial heartland to our ports in the south-east.”
Project director for Highways England, Tim Jones, discussed the limitations for drivers from the Dartford Crossing that he hopes the project will end: “Drivers there suffer from regular delays, severing communities and holding back economic growth.”

The FTA have backed the project, stating that the route will make movement of goods in the area a much easier journey for drivers and businesses will see the benefit of using the route rather than suffering the delays they are used to at the Dartford Crossing which they called “unbearably high”.

However, the Campaign for Better Transport considered the plans “bad value” elaborating that the plans will likely only shift the Dartford Crossing’s traffic problems. Concluding, they said “practical alternatives are available, at a fraction of the financial and environmental cost.”

The MP for Gravesham in Kent called the project a “Crazy idea” as well as “A disaster for the people of Dartford”. One of the main criticisms of the project is that it cuts through greenbelt land, this means it is close to homes and schools, meaning it could have a negative impact on the air for residents.

Public events to answer questions about the development are taking place on both sides of the river between October 20th – December 5th.
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