Lower Thames Crossing Task Force dismayed at latest scheme plans

NO Tilbury link road, no connectivity to or from the west on the A13, and no access to the crossing from the Orsett Cock– these are some of the key elements of the scheme Highways England presented to the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting on Monday 15 October.

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The presentation highlighted the number of changes which had been made since the ‘current thinking’ map was published in November 2017, which Highways England claim is based on traffic modelling.

Some unwelcome new elements of the scheme are a motorway rest area beside East Tilbury and the road forming three lanes rather than two north of the A13.

Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “The proposed Lower Thames Crossing is now a three lane motorway which will tear through the borough, all of which is above ground. There are no obvious benefits for local residents or businesses in this scheme, there’s no Tilbury link road or improved connectivity within the borough.

“For Highways England to describe the mess at the A13 Junction as ‘simplification’ simply beggars belief.

“We will go to any lengths in fighting these abysmal proposals, even if that means legal action, and I will be calling on all councillors to back my motion to seek a Judicial Review at full council later this month.”

Cllr Mark Coxshall, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “We’re spending £80 million on widening the A13 to three lanes, we’re relieving the existing bottleneck going in to the Orsett Cock roundabout from the east – only for Highways England to create a new bottleneck at the other side.

“Lorries that are coming north on the LTC can’t travel west on the A13 or get into the Port of Tilbury so they will have to go up to the Stanford-le-Hope interchange and double back, which is both massively inconvenient and create more unnecessary travel flow in Thurrock. It also adds more pressure to the Orsett Cock roundabout itself.

“We’ve seen what happened when a lack of foresight led to no east facing slips being built on the A13 in the 1980s – this scheme will be history repeating itself and it’s the people of Thurrock who will suffer for decades because of mistakes being made now by Highways England.”

Cllr Peter Smith, Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, said “There is absolutely nothing positive in this scheme for Thurrock, we will be left with a six lane motorway for traffic merely passing through while we endure the construction impacts. If development consent is granted all we will be left with is the tremendous impact from the construction itself, which includes noise, dust, vibration and disturbance.

“Highways England estimate that the scheme will take six years to build, beginning in 2021, and for three years of that time tunnel boring machines will be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

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