ICE South East England has backed the decision to build a new river crossing to the east of Gravesend in Kent across to Tilbury in Essex.
The new bored tunnel crossing, known as Route C when Highways England went out for consultation on the Crossing last year, was backed by ICE's regional Transport Panel who said the option was the best solution to increase capacity.
As a key route for freight vehicles travelling from mainland Europe into the UK, the Lower Thames Crossing is vitally needed to alleviate congestion on the current Dartford Crossing. The Department for Transport have predicted the Crossing will carry 4.5 million heavy goods vehicles in its first year and could boost the economy by more than £8 billion.
In their response to the consultation, the ICE South East England Transport Panel called for Highways England to consider the widening of the A229, a part of the scheme that could ensure better vehicle flows in and out of the crossing.
The Panel also highlighted the need to plan for increased commuter travel between Kent and Essex, ensuring that local residents are able to cross easily and to work with the local community to minimise disruption.
The ICE South East England Transport Panel Chair Rod Hulse commented on the decision saying:
"We are delighted that our recommended option for the Lower Thames Crossing has been approved. This solution is the most resilient, least intrusive and most ecologically and environmentally friendly, and will help to alleviate congestion, improve journey times and reduce levels of pollution.
"To ensure the new crossing does not become congested once open, we call on Highways England to reconsider the widening of the A229 (the C Variant option). Highways England also needs to work now with local communities to ensure the project causes as little disruption as possible and benefits the nearby towns and wider region."
Read ICE South East England's response to the Lower Thames Crossing Consultation.