Adam Holloway and Bob Lane met with Tim Jones, HE’s Project Director for the LTC, on 28th November 2017 to discuss issues voiced by local residents most directly impacted south of the Thames. In particular we discussed:
- Highways England has announced that the A226 junction has been removed from the plan. This is welcomed. However, the land take for the junction and associated A226 diversion is still included in the red-line development boundary map. There is concern that Highways England plans to resurrect the A226 junction at a later date.
- The current location of the southern tunnel portals north of the A226 is very close to housing in Chalk, and the tunnel approaches would, in effect, sever Chalk from Chalk Church. With the removal of the A226 junction, the tunnel portals are not physically constrained to their current location. It would be a huge relief if the tunnels were extended south of the A226.
- The sketchy A2 junction plans shown in the EIA Scoping Report appear to show that traffic from the crossing heading westward (towards the M25 and London) would be required to join the A2 via the Henhurst Road roundabout at Gravesend East. Although less clear, it appears to suggest that A2 traffic from the west would also need to access the tunnel link road via the existing A2 junction and slip road. In the event of problems at the Dartford Crossing, we can expect much of this M25 traffic diverting to the new crossing east of Gravesend. The arrangements shown on the sketch plans would be totally inadequate. It is essential that there is free-flow traffic to and from the A2 west of the junction, unimpeded by roundabouts and without making use of local roads.
- We have no information about how Highways England proposes to mitigate the visual, noise, and environmental impacts of the link road east of Gravesend. This is a source of great concern to residents in Shorne, Thong, and Riverview Park.
- In particular, the 6-lane highway is planned to pass under Thong Lane very close to properties in Thong conservation area and Shorne West/Riverview Park. We request that Highways England gives consideration to extending cut-and-cover tunnels either side of Thong Lane, creating green corridors either side.
Tim Jones confirmed that there are no plans to resurrect the A226 junction at a later date.
He said that there is a great deal of discussion ongoing within HE regarding the eventual location of the tunnel portals. He fully understood the concerns, and undertook to look into this matter personally.
He confirmed that access between the western end of the A2 and the link road will be fully free-flow, with NO roundabouts.
He understood our concerns regarding mitigation of visual, noise, and environmental impacts of the route. He was particularly supportive of ‘green bridges’, and undertook to look at cut-and-cover in the Thong Lane area.
Although there was nothing definite at the meeting, we were encouraged that he seemed genuinely and positively prepared to listen to our concerns and take them on board in an engineering sense, rather than just a PR sense.