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24 May 2016, 12:25
More than 47,000 people have taken part in a consultation for a new Lower Thames Crossing.
Highways England says that makes it the largest ever public consultation for a UK road project.
The consultation, which closed two months ago, asked for views on three different options for a new road crossing below the Thames, which would be the first new road crossing for the Thames east of London for 25 years.
Nearly 30,000 people had their say online, with a further 3,700 people completing a paper questionnaire and around 13,000 sending a letter or an email in response to the consultation. More than 500 local government and industry groups also responded to the consultation.
In total, 47,034 responses were received.
The responses are now all being analysed before a final decision on a preferred route is made by the government, which is expected later this year.
Highways England consultation manager Martin Potts said: "The route for a new Lower Thames Crossing is a massive decision and it is vital that we get it right.
"I am very encouraged at the significant number of responses that we have received, as they will really help us to make the best possible recommendation to government about the route that this vital new road link should take.”
The new road could be open in 2025 and would open up new areas for economic growth, relieve congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing and improve the resilience of the road network by providing a new alternative link across the Thames.
In 2014, following a public consultation led by DfT, two locations were shortlisted for a new bridge or tunnel across the river: one near the existing Dartford Crossing and the other linking the M2 with the M25 via the A13, with a possible further link to the M20.