Essex: Disappointment at delay in naming preferred option for a new Lower Thames Crossing
- Credit: PA
Essex’s road chief has said he is “extremely disappointed” that the Government has put back its decision on a preferred option for a new Lower Thames Crossing.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced today that it is ruling out one of the options originally put forward for a new crossing and that it “will carry out further work on the remaining two options.”
The original proposals included Option A at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing; Option B which would connect the A2 Swanscombe Peninsula with the A1089; Option C connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30; and a variant to Option C that would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20.
Option B has now been dropped after it received limited support during a public consultation, which started in May this year.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We had over 5,700 responses to the consultation and we have carefully considered each of them. Ruling out the least attractive option now gives some clarity for local residents and businesses.
“We are committed to making a decision on the location of the new crossing as soon as possible, but we recognise that whatever crossing location is chosen it will have significant impact for people in the area and the economy. These are tough decisions to be made and must not be taken lightly.”
But Essex County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, Rodney Bass, said the Government has had enough time to come to a final decision.
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He said: “We are extremely disappointed that the DfT has delayed the decision on a preferred option for a new Lower Thames Crossing. The consultation on options for a new crossing closed in July, so there has been ample time for a decision to be taken. This delay will obviously impact on the programme for delivery of the new crossing, so we would urge the DfT to act quickly to reach a decision as swiftly as possible.
“Essex County Council has made it very clear that additional capacity is needed in order to support economic growth and relieve congestion at the existing crossing. We firmly believe that Option C offers the best way of achieving this, by bypassing the most congested parts of the road network and providing the connectivity necessary to enhance economic growth. Option C also would deal with the current air quality problems at the existing crossing.”