As the statutory consultation begins on the new Lower Thames Crossing, the FTA is urging the government to press ahead with construction of its approved route across the Thames to increase capacity and connectivity on this vital road network.
The Lower Thames Crossing will include a new tunnel and roads connecting Kent, Thurrock and Essex. The crossing, which is expected to be completed in 2027, will increase capacity for crossing the Thames east of London by 70%, easing pressure on the existing Dartford Crossing – currently the only road crossing of the river east of the capital.
Around 55 million journeys are made each year on the Dartford Crossing, six million more than it was designed for, and it suffers from closures due to incidents almost daily.
The FTA fully supports the new scheme. Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Policy, explained why: “Traffic congestion at the Dartford Crossing is already unbearably high and it is predicted to return to pre-Dart Charge levels by 2020. The M2/M25 route is a vital cog in the country’s freight machine and it must continue to work as smoothly as possible to ensure that British companies can trade without delays both domestically and internationally.
“The logistics industry is a lifeblood of the UK economy and needs an efficient and effective road network to continue stocking Britain’s factories, retail outlets, schools, hospitals and homes with the raw materials and goods they need to continue operating efficiently. While the Lower Thames Crossing is a great milestone, a nationwide road upgrade is desperately needed to empower businesses to trade without friction.”
The Road Haulage Association has previously shown its support for the scheme, but expressed concern with the expected completion dates.
RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett, speaking in April 2017, warned: “Our main concern is that the anticipated completion date will be ten years from now. If traffic levels continue to increase at their current levels, the new crossing may be obsolete before it even opens.”
The statutory consultation on the new Lower Thames Crossing begins next week, 16 October and runs to 20 December. Highways England is seeking views on an updated, more detailed design which it believes will maximise the project’s benefits.
A video fly-through of the new scheme is available here
More information about the statutory consultation is available here
Posted on: October 10th 2018