Highways England has published the updated plans for the Lower Thames Crossing, with the project now expanded to provide six lanes of traffic travelling through a tunnel under the Thames.
According to the agency, this new crossing would almost halve the northbound crossing times at the Dartford Crossing, the BBC revealed.
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard noted that it would reduce traffic at Dartford by 22 per cent. If the proposals go ahead as planned, the Lower Thames Crossing will connect the M2 in Kent with the M25 in Essex.
Under the new plans, the 14.5 mile route will feature a 2.4 mile tunnel under the river, making it the longest road tunnel in the UK.
However, the budget for the scheme has increased and now stands at between £5.3 billion and £6.8 billion.
Project director Tim Jones described it as “the most ambitious project of its kind ever in the UK”. He also explained that there will be a user charge for taking the tunnel, with the organisation behind the project exploring the idea of a variable charge rather than a flat rate.
Motoring organisations the AA and the RAC support the project, with Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director telling the BBC that “it is vital that this project is got right so that it delivers benefits not just for drivers travelling from one end of the country to the other, but also residents of Kent and Essex”.
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