Plans for the multi-billion pound road tunnel under the River Thames between Kent and Essex have been unveiled, which could vastly benefit the haulage & courier industry as well as bringing an economic boost to the region.
Originally proposed in January 2009 as one of three possible options to increase capacity of traffic between Essex and Kent, Highways Essex has announced that “Option C” which would see Tilbury in Essex and Gravesend in Kent connected as its preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing.
The route, planned to run from the M2 in Kent to the M25 between junctions 29 & 30 in Essex would tunnel under the River Thames east of Tilbury & Gravesend, creating congestion relief for the Dartford Crossing. Dartford Crossing is one of the busiest roads in the country, used over 50 million times a year by commuters, business travellers, haulage companies, emergency services and holidaymakers.
Showing the potential routes of Lower Thames Crossing Option C
Highways England Senior Manager of Major Projects, Martin Potts said the backed route would “Provide double the economic benefits” of building a crossing close to the existing Dartford Crossing, one of the many reasons they opposed “Option A”, which would see a new bridge built alongside the existing A232 Dartford Crossing.
Martin Potts continued by saying the that the Tilbury-Gravesend option would also be a “Clear alternative route to the Dartford Crossing, reducing congestion and improving resilience of the road network”.
With a public consultation over the crossing underway from Tuesday 26th
January, Potts also commented that “There are important choices to be made, as well as inviting comments from the public about our recommendations, we have identified three routes for the new road to the North of the river and two new routes South of the river”
The Lower Thames Crossing between Gravesend and Tilbury would carry many perks for the haulage industry & the environment according to Andy Davidson, who is the Transport Manager for Tilbury based haulage company Triple A Transport “Once completed it will cut down the journey times to and from Kent for our fleet in the long run reducing mileage and therefore reducing the impact in one area”.
Transport Manager Andy Davidson - Triple A Transport
Andy continued “It will encourage growth and further investment in the Thurrock area which will in turn create jobs and boost the economy.”
But the backing of the Tilbury-Gravesend route has been met with quite the opposite reaction from those not in the haulage industry.
Shorne-based Mike Golsby said that Option C would have a “detrimental affect” to the local area and does not see it solving the traffic issues at the current Dartford crossing.
Shorne Green Belt land threatened by Lower Thames Crossing route
Whilst Gravesham Conservative MP, Adam Holloway voiced his opinion that Highways England had backed the wrong route by saying the only way to solve the Dartford traffic problems, is to solve the traffic problems in Dartford.