A proposed 14.5 mile road will connect the M2 near Rochester and the M25 in Essex, between north and south Ockendon and include a 2.4 mile tunnel between Gravesend and Tilbury.
Highways England, is leading the project to build the six-lane stretch of road.
The route had been confirmed on April 12, 2017 by then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
The scheme came to fruition in order to relieve the pressure on the existing A282 Dartford Crossing.
The crossing itself will cost £6.8 billion but investment in local roads is also likely to be necessary to deal with the predicted increases in traffic once the crossing opens
It is estimated that the 14.5 miles of new roads, connecting the tunnel to the existing road network, will double road capacity across the Thames, east of London.
The government agency also say the scheme will take up to 22 per cent of traffic away from the Dartford Crossing and “significantly relieve congestion” there.
It is anticipated that the scheme will boost local, regional and national economies, and form an essential part of the UK’s transport infrastructure, improving connections across the country and lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs and add billions of pounds to the UK economy.
A Highways England spokesman said: “We’re consulting on our latest plans for the project, and we are keen to hear all views on the proposals.”
They added: “We continue to work closely with businesses, communities and local authorities to unlock economic growth and provide improved access to leisure, retail and job opportunities.”
The website for the crossing states that the benefits to the Lower Thames area around Kent, Thurrock and Essex include:
- Improved journey times along parts of the A127 and M20
- Reduced congestion on approach roads to the Dartford Crossing (including parts of the M25, A13 and A2)
- Increased capacity across the Thames from four lanes in each direction currently (at Dartford) to seven lanes each way (Dartford plus the Lower Thames Crossing)
- Allowing nearly double the amount of traffic to cross the Thames
The agency confirmed that the Lower Thames Crossing will:
- Support sustainable local development and regional economic growth in the medium to long term
- Be affordable to government and users
- Achieve value for money
- Minimise adverse impacts on health and the environment
- Relieve the congested Dartford Crossing and approach roads, and improve their performance by providing free-flowing, north-south capacity
- Improve resilience of the Thames crossings and the major road network
- Improve safety
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