A Tory council leader has demanded showdown talks with transport secretary Chris Grayling after the government announced its preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing.
Thurrock Council leader Rob Gledhill described the selected project as “the worst choice out of a terrible bunch” and urged Grayling to explain it.
The council is north of the River Thames and is already home to the Dartford Crossing, as well as the proposed new crossing. It claims that the decision to go ahead with the crossing, and the claimed benefits, are based on out-of-date data and the option chosen will not do as much to alleviate congestion as others.
The preferred route, announced last week, will see a new road linking the A2 south of the River Thames with the M25 to the north. It will cross under the river via two bored tunnels (northbound and southbound) starting east of Gravesend, Kent, and emerging near Tilbury in Essex.
Gledhill said: “I have been continually outraged and disappointed at every stage of this process, it is obviously the wrong decision for Thurrock and we continue with our objections to this flawed plan.
“Furthermore, I would respectfully request the secretary of state for a meeting to outline how this decision was made.”
Thurrock Labour group leader John Kent urged residents and councillors to fight together against the scheme.
“We don’t want our green belt destroyed and we don’t want our homes destroyed,” he said.
“Most of all, we don’t want the queues, congestion, and pollution shifted five miles downstream as a new motorway cuts our borough in half.”
Highways England’s technical partner LTC Cascade, a joint venture between CH2M, Arcadis and Cowi, is to work towards a development consent order application for the crossing, in part through more detailed design work for the route.
New Civil Engineer reported last week that two slurry tunnel boring machines would be needed to provide stability through mixed ground and to withstand high pressure groundwater during construction of the tunnels.
Thurrock Council has previously published 17 reasons it is againt all proopsals for the Lower Thames Crossing.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “This route will greatly improve journeys as well as unlocking more than £8bn of economic benefits and create some 6,000 jobs.
“The decision for a new crossing east of Gravesend and Tilbury is underpinned by years of studies, assessments and careful consideration of the record-breaking response to our 2016 consultation. As we progress there will be further consultation and opportunities to be part of shaping the detail for the area, now and for future generations.”
Grayling said last week: ”The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs.”