Kent County Council today welcomed Highways England’s consultation on a Lower Thames Crossing.
Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, said: “We have been lobbying Government for more than a decade to promote a new Thames crossing and worked with Essex County Council to advance this much-needed infrastructure. We therefore welcome news that Highways England is consulting on it.
“A new Lower Thames Crossing is vital for the continued economic prosperity of not only the South East but the wider UK economy.
“In the right location, the new Crossing has the potential to relieve congestion at the current crossing, create greater network resilience and most importantly, support economic growth.”
In 2013, two locations were shortlisted for a new bridge or tunnel across the river: one near the existing Dartford Crossing (known as Option A) and the other linking the M2 with the M25 via the A13 (known as Option C), with a possible further link to the M20 (Option C Variant).
Since then, Highways England has been carrying out detailed work with a wide range of stakeholders to assess the shortlisted options and develop possible routes at each location.
This evaluation is now complete, and Highways England is recommending a new road crossing at location C through a bored tunnel.
The proposed scheme would run from the end of the M2, crossing the river just east of Gravesend and Tilbury and joining the M25 between junctions 29 and 30.
It will be the first new crossing of the Thames east of London since the Queen Elizabeth II bridge opened at Dartford 25 years ago.
A Highways England consultation seeking public views on the proposals starts today and runs until Thursday 24 March.
There will be 24 public exhibitions, held at venues across Kent and Essex.
All responses will be taken into consideration, Highways England says, before a final decision is made by the Government later this year.
For more information about Highways England’s proposals and the public exhibitions, and to provide your views you can visit www.lower-thames-crossing.co.uk or follow @lowerthames on Twitter.