National Highways has released a new video fly-through that illustrates the route of the Lower Thames Crossing, as the Planning Inspectorate opened the period for members of the public, stakeholders and landowners to register to take part in the next stage of the planning process.
The new fly-through shows a bird’s eye view of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, which National Highways says would provide a reliable new connection between the A2 in Kent to the M25 in south Essex. It says the design of the road has been shaped by the most comprehensive programme of consultation and engagement ever undertaken for a UK road scheme.
The fly-through uses a 3D computer model of the new road blended with real video footage to show how the route has been designed to “sit sensitively in the landscape” with 80% of the road below ground level through the use of cuttings, embankments and the tunnel. The video also shows the scale of proposed planting and public open space, including two new public parks, seven green bridges and over a million extra trees.
National Highways adds that changes made to the design in Thurrock and presented in the project’s last consultation are also included in the fly-through, such as changes on the north bank of the Thames to make space for the Thames Freeport, and changes to the connection between the Orsett Cock roundabout to the A1089 to reduce traffic impacts on some local roads.
In October, National Highways submitted its plans for the new road to the Planning Inspectorate and later this year they will be rigorously examined by a panel of independent, government appointed experts. Ahead of the examination taking place, the Planning Inspectorate has today (9 January) opened the period for stakeholders and members of the public to register to become an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation, which is the first time that comments and views on the application can be sent directly to the Planning Inspectorate. Registration is possible through the Planning Inspectorate website until 24 February 2023.
Matt Palmer, Executive Director, Lower Thames Crossing, said: “Our plans have been shaped by a comprehensive programme of consultation and will now be examined in detail by the government’s independent planning authority. I’d like to thank members of the public and stakeholders for taking the time to give their views, both in the past and during this planning process.”
National Highways maintains it is designing the Lower Thames Crossing to be the greenest road ever built in the UK. A tunnel was chosen rather than a bridge to avoid protected wetlands and marshes, seven green bridges would provide safer crossing points for people and wildlife, and viaducts are planned to protect a nearby flood plain.
Over 60km of new or improved pathways would be made available for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The scheme is also a Pathfinder project, exploring carbon neutral construction, and is the first UK major infrastructure project to put carbon reduction at the heart of its procurement process, where contractors incentivised to drive down carbon at every step, and throughout the supply chain.
(Picture – National Highways)