On 12 April 2017 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing. If adopted, the crossing will be a bored tunnel crossing under the River Thames east of Gravesend and Tilbury.
The announcement of the preferred route followed Highways England’s analysis of more than 47,000 responses to their 2016 public consultation. For more information on the outcome of the consultation, view the Response to Consultation and the Ipsos MORI analysis of findings report. You can also view the Post-Consultation Scheme Assessment Reports on the consultation website.
The decision to build a new crossing
The government decided in 2013 that an additional crossing of the Thames east of the existing Dartford Crossing was needed.
Their 2013 Consultation page, published 21May 2013, reads:
”On May 21, 2013 the Department for Transport published the government’s response to a consultation on options for a new Lower Thames Crossing. This explained that as a result of consultation and other relevant information, government confirmed the case for a new crossing.”
As of October 2017, there have been a number of further consultation meeting between Highways England and Local Authorities and Campaign Group including the LTCA. We await further details of their proposals which are expected in early 2018.
How we got here
Highways England has undertaken analysis of the problem, worked through numerous potential solutions and concluded a set of recommended proposals which will be submitted to The Secretary of State for Transport for consideration as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) using the Development Consent Regime under the Planning Act 2008.
The routes were categorised into three main corridors and these became known as Option A, Option B and Option C.
Originally there were five route corridors under consideration.
- Location A was located within the existing M25/A282 corridor
- Location B was located between the A2 at Ebbsfleet and the A1089 at Tilbury
- Location C was located east of Gravesend connecting the M2/A2 with the M25 north of junction 30
- Locations D and E were further east than Option C but these were discounted at an early stage.
Within each of these general locations were a number of possible route options. For example those for locations A and C are shown in Figure 7.
Highways England then shortlisted three options:-
- Option A located within the existing M25/A282 corridor
- Option B located between the A2 at Ebbsfleet and the A1089 at Tilbury
- Option C located east of Gravesend connecting the M2/A2 with the M25 north of junction 30
The 2016 Consultation
There were a number of stages during which Highways England eliminated routes they did not consider viable against their measures of:
- Traffic Congestion
- Resilience and reliability
- Development and Economic Growth
- Environment and Safety
All those routes within the Option A corridor were discarded by Highways England.
Option B was discounted in order to accommodate The London Resort on the Swanscombe peninsula.
Their final recommendations are within the Option C corridor and comprise a new crossing east of Gravesend with associated link roads connecting the A2/M2.
Two alternative links to the tunnel are proposed. The Western Southern Link (WSL) or the Eastern Southern Link (ESL).
The eastern route cuts through Pear Tree Lane in the picturesque village of Shorne, while the western option cuts across Thong Lane.
Both proposals cross A226 near Chalk and the River Thames under the firing range.
Some of the proposed link road routes are at existing ground level while other parts are in a deep cutting or on a high embankment.
Please refer to the Highways England consultation documents for more information.