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Dartford councillors push for decision on Lower Thames Crossing, while campaigners propose alternative

PUBLISHED: 12:02 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:02 12 July 2016

South Portal Lower Thames Crossing

South Portal Lower Thames Crossing

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A consultation on a crossing east of Gravesend was held earlier this year

Option A14 - a proposed tunnel from junction two of the M25 to junction 30 in EssexOption A14 - a proposed tunnel from junction two of the M25 to junction 30 in Essex

Councillors in north Kent are urging the government to make an early decision on a proposed Thames crossing east of Gravesend.

Earlier this year, locals were asked for their thoughts on a bored tunnel north of the M2 and eventually joining with the M25 in Essex.

The crossing would attempt to lift some of the pressure on the Dartford crossing.

Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford Borough Council, made the following motion on Monday.

“This council calls upon the secretary of state for transport to make an early decision to deliver a new Thames river crossing east of Gravesend.

“It notes with increasing alarm the harm done to the families, businesses and wellbeing of local people as result of frequent traffic congestion caused by the insufficiency of the current crossing and makes clear that only the provision of a new crossing away from Dartford can provide resilience and capacity for increasing levels of traffic.”

But campaigners in Gravesham are offering a 4.5 mile-long tunnel as an alternative to Highways England’s proposals.

The Lower Thames Crossing Association campaign group claim a crossing east of Gravesend would “not address the congestion and problems at Dartford”.

Bob Lane, spokesman for the group, said: “Highways England’s own forecasts predict that even if a new crossing east of Gravesend is built, traffic volumes at Dartford will still be well over its designed capacity, leading to continuing misery for the residents and businesses in Dartford.”

Mr Lane voiced support for a tunnel based just 800 metres from the existing Dartford crossing, referred to as ‘option A14’.

The tunnel would link the M25 from south of junction two to north of junction 30, bypassing the existing crossing.

He said: “This is a win/win for road users and for the people of Dartford, It will remove 40 per cent of traffic from the existing crossing, dramatically reducing congestion, noise and pollution from the area, without introducing it to thousands of people in other parts of Kent and Essex.”

The campaign group is hoping to meet with the secretary of state Patrick McLoughlin to explain the perceived benefits of option A14.

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