The Government will undertake detailed planning in two possible locations for a new crossing of the lower Thames to the east of London, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced.
This follows a public consultation organised by the Department for Transport (DfT), which generated more than 5,700 responses. The DfT response can be viewed here.
In December, the Government announced it would discard one of three locations in the consultation and work on the remaining alternatives; ‘option A’, close to the existing Dartford Crossing, and ‘option C’, connecting the A2 and M2 to the M25 via the A13.
It has now decided to develop and appraise route options in detail at both locations before choosing the site of the new crossing. It said the decision would not delay the delivery of a future scheme, but will allow the Highways Agency to assess the effect of the new remote payment system, called ‘Dart Charge’, which is introduced in October.
By the middle of the next decade, traffic levels are forecast to be greater than the capacity of the existing crossing.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “As part of the M25 orbital route around London, the Dartford Crossing is a crucial part of the country’s strategic road network.
“We are committed to a new Lower Thames Crossing, but whichever location is chosen, it will have a big impact on people in the area and we must make the right decision.
“This work will not delay the delivery of the crossing but allows us to choose the best option for local people and the region’s economy, so that it helps boost transport links and economic growth.”