When the proposed Lower Thames Crossing was announced, it generated an unprecedented reaction – both from the property industry and the local community alike. Planned to intersect the Thames Estuary between Gravesend and Tilbury, the new road will be the first to connect both sides of the river in 25 years and has been hailed as the key to unlocking economic development opportunities in the region.
The length of the recommended ‘Option C’ will be 14.2 miles, which includes two miles of twin tunnels, and is expected to cost between £4.3bn and £5.9bn.
The new crossing is anticipated to create up to 6,000 new jobs during the construction phase and will bridge a gap in the lower Thames by linking the A2 and the M25 to reduce congestion on the Dartford Crossing. However, despite the obvious infrastructure and economic benefits, it has attracted some strong opposition from locals, worried about the compulsory purchase of homes and businesses, as well as the devaluation of assets in close proximity to the new crossing.
These proposals have been the subject of debate in the local area since they were first announced in 2009 so it was perhaps inevitable that, no matter which route was finally chosen, there would be controversy around the outcome. On a positive note, now that an option has finally been selected, those in the industry can start to plan their response to the vast amount of opportunities and revenue it will both directly and indirectly create – from work on the building and engineering of the crossing itself, to secondary housebuilding and infrastructure schemes that will come about as a result.