Video offers virtual journey through Lower Thames Crossing between Gravesham, Kent and Thurrock
PUBLISHED: 17:21 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:36 20 March 2018
For the first time, drivers can experience what their journey through Britain's second longest road tunnel will be like once it opens in 2027, following the release of a video by Highways England today (Monday March 19).
In the video, drivers are taken on a journey through the two mile long crossing, which will feature two tunnels taking a three lane road under the River Thames between Gravesham, Kent and Thurrock, Essex.
The video also illustrates how the 13 mile route, that will include the tunnel, will link drivers to the M25, the A2 and the A13, including the new junctions and link roads being built as part of the £4.4 - £6.2 billion project.
The animation shows the tunnelled section, the three junctions north of the River Thames and a map of the full alignment of the proposed route.
It has been published to provide an early impression of what the road and tunnel could look like once completed.
Drawings have also been released showing the vertical alignment of the route, which demonstrates where the route is above and below existing ground levels.
Highways England plans to carry out a statutory consultation later this year, which will enable stakeholders and communities to shape the proposed design of the route ahead of a development consent order application for permission from the Secretary of State for Transport to build the Lower Thames Crossing.
Work is continuing on the design ahead of the statutory consultation and the video released today represents the design of the route at the time of production.
There have been changes to the route and these and future changes will be reflected in further materials, which will be published in the run up to and during the Lower Thames Crossing statutory consultation.
Highways England project director, Tim Jones, said: “The video fly-through of the Lower Thames Crossing will give people a better understanding of how the proposed road and tunnel could look once built.
“We are continuing to develop the design based on feedback from stakeholders and local communities so that we put forward a route which maximises the positive opportunities the Lower Thames Crossing could bring, while minimising impacts on communities and the environment.
“This video does not represent the final design, and we will continue to share our thinking and designs as we approach statutory consultation later this year.”
Tim Jones will be speaking to businesses, stakeholders and partners on the Lower Thames Crossing later this week when he presents at the Southend Business Partnership on Thursday to provide an update on this once-in-a-generation project.
Highways England will be responsible for delivering the crossing, which will increase capacity for crossing the Thames east of London by 70 per cent, easing pressure on the existing Dartford Crossing – currently the only road crossing of the river east of the capital.
The new crossing will be linked to the road network by a new road north of the river, which will join the M25 between junctions 29 and 30, and a new road south of the river which, will join the A2 east of Gravesend.
The Lower Thames Crossing will deliver an £8 billion economic stimulus, and create some 6,000 jobs.
The crossing will enable sustainable local development and regional growth leading to a stronger economy and will open opportunities for investment in housing.
It will allow businesses to grow, creating more jobs, apprenticeships and training, while also connecting local communities to jobs, leisure and retail.
Around 55 million journeys are made each year on the Dartford Crossing, six million more than it was designed for, and it suffers from closures due to incidents almost daily.