Crossing is the first to be built east of London for more than 25 years
A new tunnel under the Thames will be the first crossing east of London for more than 25 years, the government has announced.
The Lower Thames Crossing will run from the A2 east of Gravesend – near the M2 – and beneath the river to join the M25 in Essex between junctions 29 and 30.
It was praised as a “long-awaited decision” by motoring and business groups that will ease congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing.
At around 3.2 kilometres, it will be one of the longest road tunnels in the UK.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs.
“Our £23 billion investment into our roads is already making a difference, with schemes being completed across the country, including the M1 Catthorpe junction (in Leicestershire) and A556 at Knutsford (in Cheshire), cutting journey times for millions of motorists.
“The schemes announced today not only show we are taking decisions, we are planning upgrades and we are completing roads – making the lives of millions of motorists better.”
“The new crossing should help to spread the load, as well as bringing welcome regeneration to areas east of the Dartford Crossing,” added Edmund King, president of the AA.
“For traffic coming from the north-eastern section of the M25, this new route will give much better and more reliable access to the important port of Dover.”
The project is expected to be completed by around 2025-27 at an estimated cost of £4.3 billion to £5.9 billion.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it could create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8 billion.
The Dartford Crossing is used for 50 million journeys annually and is often the cause of frustration for motorists stuck in traffic jams.