Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has today (12 April 2017) announced the preferred route for a new Lower Thames Crossing that could create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8 billion.
The new crossing will create a new link between the A2 and the M25 and reduce the burden on the busy Dartford Crossing. The Lower Thames Crossing is expected to carry 4.5 million heavy goods vehicles in its first year.
The planned route will run from the M25 near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett before crossing under the Thames east of Tilbury and Gravesend. A new link road will then take traffic to the A2 near Shorne, close to where the route becomes the M2.
This route was identified by the majority of nearly 47,000 respondents to aconsultation on a new Lower Thames Crossing as the best solution for reducing traffic and congestion at the Dartford Crossing and for boosting the economy by improving links to London and the Channel ports.
A further £10 million will be used to improve traffic flow at and around the existing crossing as well as studying ways to further tackle congestion. This will include a wide-ranging investigation into options to cut ‘rat-running’ through Dartford and Thurrock.
Paul Spooner, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s Interim Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased the Government is in favour of Option C, the option we have always said is essential to the housing and economic growth of the North Kent area as it will divert significant volumes of national and international traffic, most notably freight vehicles, away from the A2/M25 bottleneck
“This option , along with our integrated transport plan will ensure that Ebbsfleet Garden City achieves the Government’s priorities of significant new housing and sustainable growth. In addition to future improvements on the A2 at Bean and Ebbsfleet, we want to upgrade the Fastrack bus system and deliver new pedestrian and cycle routes to encourage more non-car journeys, as well as building the case for Crossrail to be extended to Ebbsfleet International to boost overall growth and take pressure off the road network.”