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Aecom snares deal to weigh up options for third Dartford Crossing

The Department for Transport (DfT) has brought in Aecom to assess options for the M25 Dartford Crossing, including whether a new bridge or tunnel should be built.

The Dartford River Crossing was first opened in 1963 as a single bore tunnel. A second tunnel followed in 1980 and the Queen Elizabeth Bridge became operational in 1991. The objective of this study is to help develop the longer-term strategy for the crossing. The 12 month study will consider options to provide additional river crossing capacity in the lower Thames area. It is intended the study will help inform public consultation on options during 2013.

Plans to launch a public consultation on options for the crossing were announced in last year’s Autumn Statement. That announcement came two years after another DfT study by WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff recommended that further detailed work should be carried out into the feasibility of, in the longer term, providing a new crossing at one of three sites.

Feasibility study

The three potential options for a new crossing identified in the study were:

Dartford Crossings options from earlier feasibility study

  1. At the site of the existing Crossing
  2. Between the Swanscombe Penisula and the A1089
  3. From east of Tilbury to east of Gravesend to the M20


It also said further work should be carried out to identify whether short term improvements could be delivered to provide a smoother flow of traffic at the existing crossing. This has already been acted on, with the DfT currently out to tender for contractors to install barrier-less toll technology at the crossing.


Readers' comments (1)

  • The tunnels and bridge represent 4 lanes each way. More than is available on the M25. The problem is not the crossing but the toll booths which bring traffic to a standstill so that it takes HGVs 6 miles or more to build speed back up. The simplest solution to the Dartford Crossing is to remove the tollbooths. Ideally this would be to admit that enogh has been paid and to make it free but financial considerations will probably rule. However a paying alternative is to use the technology already installeded in other countries and in London for the congestion charge.

    It would be ludicrous to build further capacity at Dartford while the M25 has only 3 lanes each way from there to Godstone and there's no real crossing below Blackwall Tunnel. Replacing the ferry at Woolwich would vastly improve the Circular ring road. Also a crossing below Tilbury would be longer and more expensive but would cut some 20 miles off a journey from the North to Dover and even more from Essex to Kent.


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