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Wed July 28 2021

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Highways England consults again on Lower Thames Crossing

24 Jun Highways England is holding a new round of public consultation on the planned £8bn Lower Thames Crossing project.

CGI of the Essex portal of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing
CGI of the Essex portal of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing

The latest consultation process comes as Highways England prepares to re-submit its application for a development consent order (DCO) later this year.

It submitted an application in October 2020 but had to withdraw it when the Planning Inspectorate said it lacked information.

The latest consultation is to get views on some changes made to the project since last time. This includes a reduction in the area needed to build and operate the scheme, a smaller impact on local properties and woodland, and new public spaces on both sides of the River Thames.

The Lower Thames Crossing is an £8bn project comprising 14.3 miles of new road to the east of London, with twin 2.6 mile-long tunnels under the river to connect Kent and Essex.

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The eight-week consultation will run from 14th July to 8th September 2021.

If the project does get through the planning process, construction would be expected to start in 2024 and take around six years to build, leading to a revised road opening date between 2029 and 2030.

Highways England has been proceeding on the assumption that it will go ahead. In February it gave US consulting engineer Jacobs a £162.5m contract to oversee construction. In April it shortlisted three bidders for the £2.3bn tunnels package:

  • BFV Joint Venture; (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial and Vinci, supported by Atkins, Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA) and Stantec
  • Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV), supported by Mott McDonald and Ove Arup & Partners
  • Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV).

Also in April it called for bids for the £600m Kent roads contract and £1.3bn contract for roads north of the Thames in Essex.

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