Massive public response to Lower Thames Crossing consultation
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 July 2019
So many people have put forward their thoughts on the third Thames crossing, the planning timetable has been changed to ensure each one is reviewed.
But it will not affect the opening date in eight years.
Almost 30,000 opinions were lodged during the public consultations, so Highways England is now determined to take them all into account as part of the process.
Highways England complex infrastructure director Chris Taylor said: "The Lower Thames Crossing is an essential new road for the region and the whole country.
"When it opens in 2027 it will nearly double capacity for crossing the Thames east of London, while halving journeys times at the existing Dartford Crossing and reducing the number of vehicles using it by a quarter.
"It will transform transport links for people living, working and travelling in and around Kent, Thurrock and Essex.
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"More than 29,000 people took part in our consultation last year, with more than 86 per cent of respondents agreeing with the need for a new crossing and clear majority in support of our proposals.
"Our new timetable for planning consent does not delay our planned opening date by the end of 2027.
"It will give us time to properly consider all the detailed feedback from the consultation, enhancing and improving the proposals, and to carry out any additional consultation, if we need to.
"It will also help us to fully understand the information gathered from the ground investigation work we are doing, so that the technical side of our plans is robust as possible, reducing the risk of finding unexpected conditions when work starts."
The third crossing is needed because traffic flow at Dartford's tunnels and bridge is reaching saturation point.
Known as the Lower Thames Crossing, it is set to be the UK longest road tunnel costing some £6.8billion.
The 14.5 mile tunnel is being built east of Gravesend to connect Kent with Essex, and help shift around 14 million vehicle movements away from the existing Dartford crossings.
The tunnels and bridge are often the scene of heavy jams, even with the withdrawal of the toll booths, traffic is often slow both ways.