New images reveal scale of what will be Britain's longest road tunnel connecting Kent to Essex

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
The tunnel will connect Kent to Essex (SWNS)

These staggering images show the sheer scale of what will be Britain’s longest road tunnel.

The pictures were released as the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, that will connect Kent to Essex, moves into the next phase of public consultation, giving people the chance to have their say on the latest changes to Highways England's multi-billion pound project.

The Lower Thames Crossing will form a 14.3-mile road linking Kent, Thurrock and Essex, with a speed limit of 70 mph, and is set to be the world's third-widest bored tunnel .

Changes have now been made to original plans after detailed analysis of the 29,000 responses which received during the last consultation held in 2018, and due to new technical information following surveys and ground investigations.

The Lower Thames Crossing will form a new 14.3 mile road, with a speed limit of 70 mph (SWNS)
The tunnel is designed to almost double road capacity across the Thames to the east of London (SWNS)

It is designed to almost double road capacity across the Thames to the east of London, connecting disparate communities, reducing delays and providing more reliable journeys.

The eight-week consultation will end on 25 March.

Director of Highways England’s complex infrastructure programme, Chris Taylor, said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is Highways England's most ambitious project in 30 years, designed to improve journeys across the south east and open up new connections and opportunities for people and businesses.”

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Updates to the design include an extension to the southern tunnel entrance, in an effort to move the road away from nearby properties and reduce the impact of protected bird habitats in the Ramsar Marshes and the Thames Estuary.

A number of slip roads will also be redesigned to improve safety at junctions and make the project more visually appealing, while one lane southbound between the M25 and A13 junction will be removed to reduce the amount of land required.

Other updated plans include more details on the construction plans for the crossing, a revised development boundary, proposed utility diversions and additional land required for environmental mitigation.

A number of slip roads will be redesigned to improve safety at junctions and make the project more visually appealing (SWNS)

A set of proposals for maintaining, improving and upgrading the walking, cycling and horse-riding network around the crossing will also be presented.

Once the consultation closes in March, Highways England will analyse the new responses ahead of finalising its plans to seek planning consent for the project, through submitting a Development Consent Order (DCO).

As part of the DCO application, Highways England will submit a consultation report, explaining how the issues raised during both consultations were considered and responded to.

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