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New crossing could boost borough's transport links

by Jim Dunton Fri 24 May 2013, 12:31 pm

A new Thames crossing could be built on Medway's doorstep as part of proposals floated by the government this week.

The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on three options for a new route across the river to take the strain off the existing bridge and tunnel at Dartford.

One of them would link the M2 near Rochester with the A13 in Essex, continuing on to join the M25 between Junctions 29 and 30. A potential addition to the scheme would also see the A229 widened between the M2 and M20 to further improve traffic flow.

The other options in the consultation are further work at the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossing and a new route linking the A2 near the Swanscombe Peninsula with the A1089 near Grays, in Esssex.

A decision on whether any new crossing should be a tunnel or a bridge would be taken after a preferred route was identified.

Roads minister Stephen Hammond said the existing Dartford Crossing was already handling 140,000 vehicles a day - above its original 135,000 design capacity, and that the figure was set to rise dramatically.

“With traffic levels expected to increase by one-fifth over the next 30 years, it is vital we take action now on the future of a new Lower Thames crossing to make sure that our road network is able to meet the future economic needs of the country,” he said.

“There are some tough decisions to be made, but this is the first step in making sure that the residents, businesses and motorists who rely on the crossing receive the service they expect and deserve in the years to come.”

The consultation is open until 16 July.

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