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The Roads Minister has been at the Dartford Crossing to unveil more details about plans for a a new Lower Thames crossing.
Stephen Hammond has outlined three possible options to tackle congestion and capacity issues motorists have to deal with on a daily basis. Currently 140,000 vehicles use the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossing on a typical day, compared to the original design capacity of the crossing which was 135,000.
The options are:
Option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing;
Option B: connecting the A2 Swanscombe Peninsula with the A1089; and
Option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30.
The variant to Option C would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20.
There will be a public consultation with the plans available to view and download on the Department of Transport's website and at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex on Friday 21 June and Gravesend Library on and Saturday 22 June.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: "With traffic levels expected to increase by a fifth over the next 30 years, it is vital we take action now on the future of a new Lower Thames crossing to make sure that our road network is able to meet the future economic needs of the country.
"There are some tough decisions to be made, but this is the first step in making sure that the residents, businesses and motorists who rely on the crossing receive the service they expect and deserve in the years to come.
“I encourage anyone who uses the existing crossing or has an interest in the location of the new crossing to let us have their views on these proposals. This will enable us to make the right decision on the location of the new crossing.”
Stephen Hammond on new Thames crossing
Anybody interested in commenting on the proposed location options can have their say by completing the online response form on the Department’s website or by submitting the response form by email or post.
All responses need to be submitted by the Tuesday 16 July 2013, when the consultation will close. Decisions following this consultation will be announced in the autumn 2013.
The Freight Transport Association has welcomed news of the consultation. Malcolm Bingham, the FTA's Head of Road Network Management Policy said: "There is absolutely no doubt that improving capacity and easing congestion at Dartford is essential, therefore FTA believes that there is a definite requirement for a third Thames crossing, but we have to ensure that the best option is selected, providing real relief on this important national artery.
“There is a terrific opportunity here that must not be wasted, and strong leadership to decide what the best option is has to be paramount. FTA will help with determining what the right option is by consulting with its members on what that best crossing will be.”