Lower Thames Crossing: All you need to know as consultation deadline looms

Lower Thames Crossing consultation period to end

The consultation for the proposed Lower Thames Crossing is to end at 11.59pm tomorrow (September 8). - Credit: Joas.co.uk

Time is running out to have your say on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.

With the consultation set to shut at 11.59pm tomorrow night - Wednesday, September 8 - residents have just over 24 hours to submit their views to Highways England.

Ahead of this looming deadline, the Recorder has set out key elements of the lengthy proposal. 

What is the Lower Thames Crossing?

This multi-billion pound scheme aims to ease traffic around the M25 and the Dartford Crossing by creating a new crossing under the River Thames.

Should it get the go-ahead, a three-lane dual carriageway will be constructed to connect the M25 near North Ockendon to the M2 near Rochester.

The planned route will start near Ockendon Road and go across the A13 at Orsett before making its way under the Thames. 

Lower Thames Crossing

An existing view of the M25 junction 29 (looking north). - Credit: Highways England

There will also be a 2.4-mile tunnel between Gravesend and Tilbury.

Most Read

Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and finish in 2029.

Originally estimated to cost £5.3 billion, the projected cost is now between £6.4bn and £8.2bn.

The crossing would become Britain’s biggest road tunnel should it be completed.

Which areas in Havering would be affected by its construction?

Upminster, Cranham and Harold Wood. Highways England (HE) has prepared ward summaries for those areas.

Work on St Mary's Lane would cause short-term overnight or weekend closures for about 12 to 14 months.

The section of Ockendon Road between the rail bridge and existing properties would be closed for approximately 19 months while a new overbridge is built.

A proposed diversion has been drawn up for this period via North Road, West Road, Dennis Road, Dennises Lane and Stubbers Lane.

The 370 bus would have to be diverted while Ockendon Road is closed.

Lower Thames Crossing

A proposed view of the M25 junction 29 (looking north). - Credit: Highways England

The upgraded M25 - including new slip roads - would pass through the eastern part of Cranham and Harold Wood.

Plans to widen the motorway, both north and south of junction 29, would take up to four and a half years.

Traffic management measures would be in place for most of this time.

Plans to divert a high-pressure gas pipeline would limit the public's use of Folkes Lane Woodland, with HE committed to providing replacement land to offset this.

Separately, one of the compounds used as a base for the project would be sourced from in Cranham ward.

What are the advantages to the crossing?

HE cites a number of advantages to the scheme, including:

- More than 400,000 jobs would be brought within a 60-minute commute due to improved journey times

- The creation of 260 hectares of new woodland

- The construction of 46km of new or improved footpaths, cycleways and bridleways

- Construction would create 22,000 jobs, including for apprentices and graduates

What are the concerns?

The Thames Crossing Action Group (TCAG) believes the crossing doesn't solve the problems it was intended to fix.

Its grievances range from concerns over 24/7 construction to the pressure on local roads.

Separately, while supporting the premise in principle, Havering Council has withdrawn its support following accusations of broken promises on a toll discount for residents.

London Assembly Member Keith Prince and Romford MP Andrew Rosindell have also called for this concession.

Is this the first consultation?

No. A first consultation was held in 2018, with a second round announced in early 2020.

Last November, it was confirmed that HE had withdrawn its submission for the Development Consent Order (DCO) required to proceed with a project of national significance.

This withdrawal - based on early feedback from the Planning Inspectorate - prompted Havering Council leader Damian White to call for a fresh consultation.

The current consultation has been open since July 14.

Comment before tomorrow night by visiting ltcconsultation.highwaysengland.co.uk/consultation/