Published: 05:00, 12 May 2022
| Updated: 14:50, 16 May 2022
New images of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing have been released as the final planned stage of consultation begins.
National Highways released the images today as consultation gets under way on proposed changes to the multi-billion pound tunnel plan, proposed near Gravesend, which would link Kent to Essex.
The ambitious 14-mile road project, set to cost £8.2bn, would be built east of Gravesend and is designed to help ease congestion at the Dartford Crossing.
An eleventh hour decision to pull an earlier bid was made in November 2020 after the government told highways bosses it would be refused.
The five-week refinement consultation opened today and runs until Monday, June 20, offering the chance to comment on changes proposed since consultation held in 2021.
National Highways – which aims to spend £1 in every £3 with local businesses during the project – says it aims to submit an application for a Development Consent Order later this year.
The proposed changes include more public open space to the east of the tunnel entrance in Gravesham, connected to Chalk Park – the proposed new public park overlooking the Thames. There are also plans for better bridleway connections around the A2 junction and the A226 in Gravesham.
The design of a new public park on the north bank of the Thames in Thurrock has been altered, and access to the northern tunnel entrance in Thurrock has been modified to provide safer operation of the tunnel facilities and better access for emergency services.
There are also plans to replace an existing slip road with a new link from the Orsett Cock roundabout to the A1089 in Thurrock to reduce traffic impacts on some local roads, and a new footbridge over the A127 in Havering and improvements to pathways for walkers, cyclists and horse rider.
Other changes to landscaping proposals have been made, as well as changes needed to utilities in the local area, as well as additional environmental compensation and mitigation.
To view the consultation website click here and it includes videos, an interactive map, and documents, which can also be delivered to homes free of charge or picked up from libraries. http://www.ltcconsultation2022.nationalhighways.co.uk/
Anyone who has questions can speak to a member of the project team through a telephone call back service or at a nearby consultation event.
Matt Palmer, executive director for the Lower Thames Crossing, said: "There is a pressing need to tackle congestion at the Dartford Crossing which causes delays and unreliable journeys for tens of thousands of people every day.
"The Lower Thames Crossing will be a vital piece of the UK’s transport infrastructure, not only by providing a reliable alternative to Dartford, but by driving the economy by bringing people closer to jobs and businesses closer to their customers.
“These consultations are crucial in helping us get the design right; to reduce the impact on local communities and environment, but also give the most benefit to local communities. I’d like to thank you for your patience, and for taking the time to look at our plans and give us your feedback.”
Consultation events will be held on the following dates:
Friday, May 20, 2pm-8pm: Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Ln, Gravesend, DA12 4LG
Monday, May 23, 2pm-8pm: Village Hotel – Maidstone, Castle View, Forstal Road, Kent, Maidstone, ME14 3AQ
Thursday, June 9, 2pm-8pm: Bridgewood Manor Hotel, Near Blue Bell Hill, Walderslade Woods, Chatham, ME5 9AX
Friday, June 10, 2pm-8pm: Shorne Village Hall, 16 The Street, Shorne, DA12 3EA
Consultation comments can be submitted at Cuxton Library, Gravesend Library, Maidstone Library, and Snodland Library.
Information points can be found at Coldharbour Library, Dartford Library, Higham Library, Larkfield Library, Meopham Library, Riverview Park Library, Shorne Woods Visitor Centre, and Strood Library.