Shaping the design of the Lower Thames Crossing

Shaping the design of the Lower Thames Crossing

We want to build and operate the Lower Thames Crossing in a way that brings the most benefit to the local area and the UK, whilst reducing our impact on our neighbours and the environment.

Since 2013 we have been in public engagement for almost 300 days, with almost 90,000 of you giving us your views. We have used your feedback, along with the results of ongoing engagement with a huge range of stakeholders, as well the findings of our ongoing surveys and investigations, to shape the design of the project.

Shaping the design of the Lower Thames Crossing

Timeline of consultation

Our most comprehensive programme of consultation ever included:

Consulting during COVID-19

Due to the restrictions on public gatherings put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, we changed how we shared information and sought your feedback during our consultations so that you could understand our proposed changes and give us your views.

You said, we did

We have used all of your feedback, along with the results of our engagement and surveys, to help us design a scheme that meets the objectives agreed by Highways England and the Department for Transport.

  • To support sustainable local development and regional economic growth in the medium to long term
  • To be affordable to government and users
  • To achieve value for money
  • To relieve the congested Dartford Crossing and approach roads and improve their performance by providing free-flowing north-south capacity
  • To improve resilience of the Thames crossings and the major road network
  • To improve safety
  • To minimise adverse impacts on health and environment

Here are a handful of changes made to the Lower Thames Crossing following your feedback. You can find more information about the feedback and how we responded in the Consultation Report (to become available on the Planning Inspectorate website if and when our application is accepted).

 

Reducing our impact on the environment

Reducing our impact on Ancient Woodland

We understand that Ancient Woodland is irreplaceable. We’ve been able to reduce the area being lost by making significant changes to the scheme, such as changing the route to avoid areas of woodland entirely and finding new ways to divert essential utilities to reduce the amount of land we need.

We’ll continue to engage with our stakeholders, partners and supply chain to find more ways reduce our impact, for this project and to share with others in the future.

At supplementary consultation, we provided an additional three green bridges to our proposals to help connect wooded habitats. Our proposals now feature seven green bridges in total throughout the route, including in Gravesham and Thurrock.

Thong Lane green bridge was redesigned at supplementary consultation to reach 84 metres in width to accommodate walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

We will use and re-use material on our construction sites more efficiently, reducing the number of lorries needed to take away material by 24% per month on average across the construction areas. Some of the material excavated by our tunnelling will be used to create landscaping features around the northern and southern tunnel entrances.

We have extended the tunnels to the south during our statutory consultation by 600 metres and again during our supplementary consultation by 350 metres. By moving the tunnel entrances closer to the A2/M2 junction, we lessened potential environmental impacts on the adjacent Ramsar site, reduced the visual impact and ensured communities remain connected.

Improving journeys

Removal of A226 junction with the Lower Thames Crossing

We removed the A226 junction in our statutory consultation as it would have increased traffic on minor local roads in the area, particularly the A226 immediately east and west of the route, leading to rat running and reduced road safety.

Based on feedback and traffic modelling, we are proposing three lanes in both directions along most of the route, including the tunnels – making it one of the widest bored tunnels in the world.

The southbound section between the M25 and A13 junction will be two lanes wide. Reducing the number of lanes has lessened the project’s physical, environmental and carbon footprint. Furthermore, our traffic modelling has shown that this provides sufficient capacity for vehicles travelling southbound on the Lower Thames Crossing, along this stretch.

At statutory consultation, the A13/A1089 junction was redesigned so that some slip roads that went over the A13 would now go underneath, helping to reduce the visual impact of the new road.

Also at our statutory consultation, the M25 junction was redesigned so that the Lower Thames Crossing passed beneath the M25, rather than over. With this redesign, we also removed two railway crossings. These changes helped to reduce the visual impact of the new road.

Following feedback from our 2016 consultation, we lowered the height of the road in some locations by as much as five to six metres to reduce its visual impact.

Looking at the entire route, almost two thirds of the new road, including slip roads, is now below ground level.

Our proposals include almost over 24 miles of new or upgraded walking paths, cycle paths and bridleways that will benefit communities along the route.

Supporting local businesses

Supply Chain Sustainability School

We want to ensure local small and medium enterprises play a key part in the project’s supply chain. We have developed free training with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to help upskill local businesses, so they are in the best position to tender for work on the Lower Thames Crossing and other projects in the future.

 

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