Highways England is currently consulting on the route of a new Lower Thames Crossing, linking Kent and Essex, with a route east of Gravesend its preferred option.
The government’s agency, which operates, maintains and improves England’s motorways, has put forward two preferred routes in Kent for consideration by local residents and businesses.
One route would connect a crossing and road to the A2, the other would meet the M2 at junction 1, both crossing the Thames east of Gravesend en route to Tilbury in Essex.
The new route would join the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 with three possible route options in Essex being consulted on.
People can also give their views on Route 1 – another bridge or bored tunnel at Dartford, connecting Kent with Thurrock.
In its consultation literature, Highways England examined the option for a four lane bridge and twin bored crossing immediately to the west of the current crossing at Dartford, and it concluded it had some merit.
However, Highways England has selected a crossing east of Gravesend as its preferred route option, citing a number of reasons for the decision, with Dartford offering poor value for money and economic benefits, impact on development and commercial properties, significant disruption to river/jetty operations, high technical risks and potential impacts on sensitive environmental sites, as well as disruption during construction and increased congestion on the adjacent A2 and A13. However, it is still seeking views on the Dartford option.
Highways England has recognised that the two Kent routes east of Gravesend also have an impact on the local community and environment.
Sam Snart, Managing Director of Hobbs Parker Property Consultants, said:
“The good news is that Highways England is consulting on a new Lower Thames Crossing, rather than simply imposing their choice on local communities. As always there will be winners and losers when it comes to development and we can only hope that the government will listen to both sides of the debate and do everything it can to mitigate the impact.”
The consultation closes on 24 March, 2016 and further information can be found at www.lower-thames-crossing.co.uk/