Stunning new photos reveal how Britain’s longest road tunnel, connecting Kent and Essex, might look.
The images were released as the proposed Lower Thames Crossing moves into the next phase of public consultation, giving people the chance to have their say on the latest changes to Highways England’s multi-billion pound project.
The Lower Thames Crossing will form a new 14.3 mile road, with a speed limit of 70 miles-per-hour – linking Kent, Thurrock and Essex.
Changes have been made to original plans after detailed analysis of the 29,000 responses received during the last consultation held in 2018, and because of new technical information following surveys and ground investigations.
It is designed to almost double road capacity across the Thames to the east of London, connecting disparate communities, reducing delays and providing more reliable journeys.
The new images show what the southern entrance to the Lower Thames Crossing, in Kent, could look like
The new £6.8bn crossing involves a 2.4-mile tunnel as part of the 14.5 mile project
The Lower Thames Crossing moves into the next phase of public consultation, prompting the photos to be released
The eight-week consultation, which begins today, will end on 25 March.
Director of Highways England’s complex infrastructure programme, Chris Taylor, said: ‘The Lower Thames Crossing is Highways England’s most ambitious project in 30 years, designed to improve journeys across the south east and open up new connections and opportunities for people and businesses.
‘Getting the views of the local community and businesses is crucial to designing a project that will offer the best value, maximise the benefits for all, while reducing the impact on local communities and the environment.
‘This consultation is a chance for people to review and comment on a number of changes made since our last consultation in 2018, and to help shape this once-in-a-generation project.’
Updates to the design include an extension to the southern tunnel entrance, in an effort to move the road away from nearby properties and reduce the impact of protected bird habitats in the Ramsar Marshes and the Thames Estuary.
The eight-week consultation, which begins today, will end on 25 March and allow people to have their say
An image showing the view of Muckingford Road in Essex, overlooking the northern entrance to the Lower Thames Crossing
The new Lower Thames Crossing route over the Mardyke valley mocked up in this photo
A number of slip roads will also be redesigned to improve safety at junctions and make the project more visually appealing, while one lane southbound between the M25 and A13 junction will be removed to reduce the amount of land required.
Other updated plans include more details on the construction plans for the crossing, a revised development boundary, proposed utility diversions and additional land required for environmental mitigation.
A set of proposals for maintaining, improving and upgrading the walking, cycling and horse-riding network around the crossing will also be presented.
Once the consultation closes in March, Highways England will analyse the new responses ahead of finalising its plans to seek planning consent for the project, through submitting a Development Consent Order (DCO).
As part of the DCO application, Highways England will submit a consultation report, explaining how the issues raised during both consultations were considered and responded to.