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Expect boreholes soon for Lower Thames Crossing

Highways England has given a presentation to a group of Kent and Essex MPs at a Parliamentary briefing at Westminster on the latest situation regarding proposals for a Lower Thames Crossing.

Joining MPs Jackie Doyle Price (Thurrock), Adam Hollaway (Gravesham) and Sir Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks) was the KCC cabinet member for highways, Cllr Mike Whiting, who attended as a representative for Gordon Henderson MP (Sittingbourne and Sheppey).

Cllr Whiting, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in tomorrow's Euro-elections has been unable to report back on the outcome of the briefing because of election "purdah" but the Kent Messenger understands that very little new information emerged.

How the southern portal of the Lower Thames Crossing, in Kent, will look
How the southern portal of the Lower Thames Crossing, in Kent, will look

The project director Tim Jones said that there had been more than 28,000 responses to a public consultation on the proposal, but officers were still sifting through them.

So far there had been no amendments proposed to the original designs. However, MPs were told that ground condition surveys would start soon.

That would involve the drilling of 700 boreholes across 400 locations on both sides of the Thames.

MPs were warned that the drilling rigs would be "quite intrusive" and to expect some disquiet.

The latest proposed route of the new Lower Thames Crossing
The latest proposed route of the new Lower Thames Crossing

Cllr Whiting and the Kent MPs stressed the need for mitigation measures to be included at other Kent road junctions such as M2 Junction 3 with Blue Bell Hill and M2 Junction 5 with the A249.

KCC's position is that it is in favour of a new Lower Thames Crossing to relieve congestion at the Dartford Tunnel, but insists the crossing should be only the first stage of a new strategic route from Dover to the Midlands and the North which it said "is desperately needed, given the 5% per annum growth in cross-Channel traffic forecast at the Channel ports, in addition to the level of housing growth that Kent will be accommodating over the coming years."

As well as improvements to the M2/A2 and M20/A20 via the A229 and A249, KCC wants to see the dualling of the A2 from Lydden to Dover and improvements to M2 Junction 7 (Brenley Corner).


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