Lower Thames Crossing position statement
2018 statutory consultation
Highways England launched a statutory consultation on their latest proposals for a Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) on the 10 October 2018. The consultation ran until the 20 December and focused on the revised scope including;
- approach to design
- construction and operation
- Preliminary Environmental Information Report
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- and forecasted traffic impacts.
The 10 week consultation was required as part of their application for a Development Consent Order (DCO), which is expected to be submitted in late 2019.
The latest proposals include:
- approximately 14.5 miles (23km) of new road, with a maximum speed limit of 70mph, connecting to the existing road network from the A2/M2 to the M25
- two tunnels, one southbound and one northbound both with three live running lanes
- improvements to the M25, A2 and A13, where the Lower Thames Crossing connects to the road network
- removal of the A226 junction and extension of the tunnel portal 600m further south
- new structures and changes to existing ones (including bridges, buildings, tunnel entrances, viaducts, and utilities such as electricity pylons) along the length of the new road
- a free-flow charging system, where drivers do not need to stop but pay remotely, similar to the Dartford Crossing.
Our response to the 2018 consultation remained in support of the Secretary of State’s preferred route alignment; Option C to the east of Gravesend, with the Western Southern Link linking the new crossing and road with the A2.
However, our response reinstates the urgent need for a phased programme of wider network improvements to be delivered alongside the new Lower Thames Crossing to ensure its success. This includes:
- improving the links between the M2/A2 and M20/A20 via the A229 and A249, and along the M2/A2 corridor
- making the A2 from Lydden to Dover a dual carriageway
- and improvements to M2 Junction 7 (Brenley Corner).
We also have some concerns regarding the proposed arrangement of the junction with the A2 and have asked that the design is reviewed to explore options for maintaining direct access for local residents to the A2 east-bound.
Whilst we have been happy that the concerns raised throughout our previous consultation responses have been taken on board, we fully appreciate the distress that this proposal continues to cause to the local community and have asked that further mitigation measures are incorporated within the design. This includes such measures as increasing the length of tunnel further, covering the section of the route in cutting and measures to ensure that the widening of the A2 does not impact on Shorne Woods Country Park.