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Borough states Thames crossing preferences

by Jim Dunton Thu 25 July 2013, 10:58 am

Medway Council's cabinet has given its backing to two of the government's three proposals for a new Lower Thames Crossing, designed to relieve congestion at Dartford.

Earlier this month, cabinet members resolved to support both a new crossing at Dartford - adding to the existing bridge and tunnel, or the creation of a brand new crossing linking the A13 in Essex with the M2 near Rochester.

However they said that Department for Transport officials should wait to see the impact of free-flow charging, which is set to be introduced on the current crossing next year, before deciding which of the two options to proceed with.

They said a third option - a crossing linking the A1089 at Tilbury with the A2 near the Swanscome Peninsula - should not be proceeded with.

Launching the Lower Thames Crossing Consultation in May, ministers had also floated a “variant” option for the A13-Rochester scheme, that would have seen further highway improvements, with connections between the A13 and M25 in Essex, and widening the A229 between the M2 and the M20 in Kent.

Medway cabinet members said they would like to see the road improvements made with either of their preferred options for improved Thames crossings.

A report to the meeting noted that a new Thames crossing “could have a significant impact on land use and transport policies in Medway”.

When the consultation was launched, 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 in the coming decades.

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