Highways England have set out their road building plan, including the Lower Thames Crossing which shall connect Essex, through Thurrock with Kent.  

In March 2020, as part of his budget statement, the chancellor announced a £27.4bn budget for investment in England’s strategic road network between 2020 and 2025. The publication of the government’s second road investment strategy (RIS2) set out more detail.

Highways England has now published its own strategic business plan for RIS2, setting out how it plans to spend that £27.4bn.

The marquee construction elements are the £2bn Stonehenge tunnel to upgrade the A303 (Amesbury to Berwick Down) and the £7bn Lower Thames Crossing. The Lower Thames Crossing is part of the biggest investment in the Country’s road network for a generation and an essential component in the UK’s future transport infrastructure.

The project is being dubbed Britain’s most ambitious roads project in a generation, and shall be a key factor in bringing investment to the Essex area.

The Lower Thames Crossing proposals include 14.3 miles of new roads connecting the longest road tunnel in the UK beneath the Thames to the existing road network. Supporters say it will almost double road capacity across the Thames east of London, connecting communities, reducing delays and providing more reliable journeys.

A planning application is due to be submitted later this year.

Highways England chief executive officer Jim O’Sullivan said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is part of the biggest investment in our road network for a generation and a crucial part of our future infrastructure. It will play a vital role in boosting local and national economic growth, providing reliable journeys, connecting communities and businesses.”

Roads minister Baroness Vere added: “Our road network must be fit for the future and the Lower Thames Crossing will be key to this – almost doubling road capacity between Kent and Essex, boosting the local and regional economy and improving journeys across the South East.

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