This week I had a meeting with the Highways England team working on the new Lower Thames Crossing.
Since April 2017, when it was announced the crossing was to be built east of Gravesend, work began in earnest and at the moment, ground investigation work is currently being undertaken along the planned route.
The new Lower Thames Crossing is a multi-billion-pound project, which will comprise of a 14.5-mile road, with two three-lane 70 mph motorways and tunnels under the Thames. The tunnel sections, which will be some of the largest and most ambitious in the world, will be built by a machine which is five stories high and up to 600 feet long. At the height of the construction, it is thought around 4,500 people will be working on the project.
Ensuring the new crossing is built east of Gravesend and well away from Dartford was a significant achievement and something I campaigned on for years.
Although it was a close-run decision, I was able to persuade the Department of Transport there was a better location away from the current crossing at Dartford. If we’d had six or seven years of roadworks here at Dartford, it would have made our traffic issues even worse. It was a terrible idea.
At this week’s meeting, it was pleasing to hear the work on the LTC is running to schedule and the investigations at 750 sites along the route is well underway. These investigations are looking at rock, soil and the groundwater.
Residents in Dartford have suffered from traffic congestion as a result of the problems at the Dartford Crossing for years and whilst I have said many times that this project should have been commissioned 15/20 years ago, I am pleased it is now moving forward in the right direction. Motorists need an alternative to the Dartford Crossing and it is good to hear that the LTC is on track to open on schedule in 2027.