Businesses invited to get involved in Lower Thames Crossing project in bid to boost post-pandemic economy

Artist's impression of the original Lower Thames Crossing proposal, which has now been withdrawn. Pi

Artist's impression of the original Lower Thames Crossing proposal, which is currently being revised before being resubmitted in early 2021. - Credit: Picture: Highways England

Lower Thames Crossing has launched a directory for SMEs which it hopes will help small and medium enterprises form a key part of the project's supply chains. 

Visible on the Highways England website, SMEs are invited to outline their expertise for the directory, with the completed list to be shared with the main (Tier 1) contractors.

Those contractors will then be able to use that directory to enlist the most suitable SMEs to form the supply chains for the project, first announced in April 2017 as a way of linking the borough to Kent.

If they wish, SMEs can also have their details shared with other Highways England programmes which may need such chains. 

Partly driven by the economic boost guaranteed by SME involvement, this initiative will also assist with the government aim to have a third of all procurement spend with SMEs by the end of this Parliament (2021/2022).

A CGI of the proposed 14.5 mile tunnel. Picture: Highways England

A CGI of the proposed 14.5 mile tunnel. - Credit: Picture: Highways England

This news comes as Highways England continues to revise the planning application which was withdrawn in November due to feedback received from the Planning Inspectorate.

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Upon withdrawal its spokesperson said the application would be resubmitted in early 2021, with the SME directory announcement made in the interim.

The withdrawn application outlined a proposed three-lane dual carriageway constructed to connect the M25 near North Ockendon to the M2 near Rochester, including a 2.4 mile tunnel between Gravesend and Tilbury.

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Though this has since been withdrawn, Highways England confirmed on its website that the "fundamentals" of the project - such as objectives and location - will remain the same. 

Some elements of the scheme will be changed in accordance with feedback received on construction traffic, using the river, the environment and Highway England's approach to consultation.

In the meantime SMEs are invited to make their case for being involved with the project, deemed the UK's most ambitious in almost 35 years, and the biggest since the M25.

Add details to the directory by visiting

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