The Government have been considering Thames River crossings as an alternative to the Dartford Crossing since 2009 and today the preferred option has been revealed. For over 50 years, the Dartford Crossing has provided the only road crossing of the Thames east of London and it is recognised as a critical part of the UK’s major road network carrying local, national and international traffic.
Highways England acknowledge that a new crossing is needed to reduce congestion at the existing Dartford crossing and this additional crossing could unlock economic growth, supporting the development of new homes and jobs in the region.
2009 – In 2009, there were 5 potential crossing options explored
2011 – A Lower Thames Crossing became a top 40 priority infrastructure project
2012 – 5 options became three
2013 – Option B was discarded by the Government
2014 – Highways England commissioned to undertake assessment of two potential options
2016 Highways England consult on the two remaining options, and set out option C is the preferred option.
- Option A- site of the existing A282 Dartford Thurrock Crossing
- Option C- Connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 through a bored tunnel.
The Route Consultation received 47,034 responses, making it the largest ever public consultation for a UK road project
Source: Highways England
Today April 12th 2017-Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announces that Option C is the preferred option
Option C will comprise a bored tunnel crossing under the river Thames East of Gravesend and Tilbury. A new road north of the river will join between junction 29 and 30 and a new road south of the river which will join the A2 east of Gravesend.
The project will costs between 4.4-£6.2 billion pounds and is due to be open by 2025.
Why option C?
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling supported option C because the crossing would create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8bn.
What do the affected local authorities think?
Thurrock Council have been very vocal in objecting to any plans that would create a further crossing within the Borough and have been committed to campaigning against the proposals, including the publication of “17 reasons against the Dartford Crossing”. In responding to the announcement today, council leaders have expressed outrage with the decision. Cllr John Kent, said: “Now is the time for Thurrock – its people, it’s businesses, and its council – to come together and fight as one.
Gravesham Borough Councilors, in which Gravesend is located, are equally disappointed with today’s decision, and remain resolutely against option C.
We can expect that this wont be the end of the Council’s fight to reject option C.
What other options are considered to reduce congestion on the Dartford Crossing
Within the east of London, there is a heavy reliance on a small number of crossings including the Dartford Crossing and the Blackwall Tunnel. TFL have consulted on river crossing options within the east. An examination is currently underway on the potential for a Silvertown tunnel.
Future options for TFL include developing the concepts of new bridges at Gallions Reach(2) and Belvedere(3).