In 2016, Highways England consulted on a new Lower Thames Crossing and received more than 47,000 responses, indicating the level of interest in the project.
Subsequently, the Secretary of State announced that the preferred route is to be a tunnel beneath the River Thames, between Gravesend and Tilbury. The tunnel will be supported by new infrastructure linking to the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 in the north and to the A2 east of Gravesend in the south.
The purpose of the new route is to ease frequent logjams and increased traffic at the Dartford Crossing - in the tunnel, carrying traffic from Kent into Essex, and on the QEII Bridge for traffic en route to the south.
The original crossing opened in November 1963 and was a single carriageway tunnel and cost sixpence (6d) to cross.
The crossing was popular and, with demand rising, a second tunnel was planned, approved and work
commenced in 1971. However, due to a number of delays including a public enquiry, it didn't open until 1980 when both tunnels provided a dual carriageway between Kent and Essex.
During the 1980s the completion of the M25 had added to an existing and projected level of traffic using the tunnels and a third crossing was proposed and approved and eventually the QEII Bridge opened in October 1991.
And still the traffic increased.
It is anticipated that the new Lower Thames Crossing will, according to Chris Taylor
Director of Complex Infrastructure at Highways England, "...unlock billions of pounds worth of economic benefit and create thousands of jobs.
The estimated cost for construction is between £4.4 and £6.2 billion and a start date is yet to be agreed – but it will offer an alternative route "....providing more than 70%
additional road capacity....", "....improved journeys, open up new connections and (strengthen) network reliability...". (http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/lower-thames-crossing/)
"The decision on the preferred route marks a significant step forward in the scheme's development. We will now move forward with the design and assessment, which includes more detailed environmental surveys, air quality and noise impact assessments and traffic modelling before consulting you again on a more detailed scheme."
No doubt there will be objections and delays but it seems that sometime in the foreseeable future we may be experiencing reduced congestion in and around the Gravesend to Dartford area – which is something to look forward to.
To keep in touch with the progress of the project visit the dedicated website at www.lower-thames-crossing.co.uk.
Caxtons is delighted to announce it has agreed to expand its sponsorship of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce (KICC) by becoming a Patron member of this forward-thinking business focused organisation.
This strategic partnership between KICC and its Patrons ensures that they are kept abreast of key business sectors across the county, and can speak with competence on a number of specialist topics. In addition, this influence flows through to the wider British Chambers of Commerce adding a voice specific to the region and, in Caxtons' case, the property sector in particular.
This places Caxtons in a strong position, having a voice through the British Chamber of Commerce, which feeds into a dedicated policy team at Westminster.
Caxtons will be made aware of relevant vacancies that occur on KICC's Economic Development Groups, which help to influence Chamber views. In addition, we will be asked to engage in government consultation exercises on both local and national issues.
David Gurton, Director of Caxtons said "This is an opportunity that Caxtons is looking forward to and we will actively participate wherever and whenever we can.
"As headline sponsor and contributor to the annual Kent Property Market Report, Caxtons is well positioned to speak with authority on the state of the property market in the county and, more generally, across the South East.
"We hope that as a Patron member of KICC, we are able to promote the importance of this research and, in particular, our specialist knowledge on the subject and the sector in general.
"At Caxtons, we recognise the importance of networking with new business contacts as well as the local business community that we already know. We have been able to achieve this very successfully through our association with KICC B2B events over the past several years, and now look forward to expanding our horizons with this new venture."
Jo James, Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce presents Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons, with their Patrons' Certificate
Karen Morison of ITN News interviewed Caxtons' Managing Director, Neil Chatterton BSc MRICS and asked his opinion about the impending business rate rise on SMEs.
Read his and other's views on the ITN website at http://www.itv.com/news/2017-02-17/new-rates-will-be-kick-in-the-teeth-to-small-business/.