Published: 10:00, 20 July 2016
| Updated: 10:46, 20 July 2016
The transport secretary has been urged to make an early decision on a new Lower Thames Crossing.
The new transport secretary, Chris Grayling is expected to announce his preferred site for the project later this year, with Highways England having recommended a £6 billion tunnel system east of Gravesend.
The Gravesend crossing, dubbed Option C, if approved, would not be completed until 2026.
Until that decision is made, campaigners continue to push their case. People in Dartford are adamant that another crossing there would be a disaster as roads are regularly gridlocked by problems at the tunnel and on the M25.
Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite (Con) says more needs to be done to combat the regular bouts of congestion in his town.
In a statement presented at a council meeting on Monday, Cllr Kite said: “This council notes with increasing alarm the harm done to the families, businesses and wellbeing of local people as result of frequent traffic congestion caused by the insufficiency of the current crossing and makes clear that only the provision of a new crossing away from Dartford can provide resilience and capacity for increasing levels of traffic.
“This council also makes clear that local aspirations for growth and community development are wholly dependent upon the provision of satisfactory infrastructure to enable local people, organisations and businesses to go about their daily activities without the disruptive, unhealthy and unacceptable burden of severe congestion on the local road network.
“Finally, this council asks for urgent consideration to be given to measures to improve local traffic conditions until such time as new strategic network capacity can be delivered east of Gravesend, including, but not limited to, support for resources to improve the operation of important local junctions during times of peak congestion.”
Among the solutions mooted to improve local junctions is the introduction of traffic patrols, which would monitor busy locations such as Bob Dunn Way and the Blue Star Roundabout.
Both span the M25 and Dartford council’s transport board has suggested that officers could prevent drivers from using the town’s roads to bypass motorway traffic.
A Gravesham council spokesman said they expected an announcement to be made on the new crossing before the end of the summer.
Last week, the transport secretary finalised plans for another major transport infrastructure project in Kent — the highly anticipated Operation Stack lorry park.
It will be built at Stanford West, off the M20, with space to hold 3,600 lorries at a cost of £250 million.
The project was confirmed despite chancellor George Osborne’s previous suggestion that such expenses could be impacted by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.