Lower Thames Crossing supplementary consultation - Using the Lower Thames Crossing

Closed 2 Apr 2020

Opened 29 Jan 2020


Using the Lower Thames Crossing

Once open, the Lower Thames Crossing would provide more reliable journeys across the river between Kent, Thurrock and Essex. It would improve connections to the busy ports in the South East and better manage high volumes of HGV traffic across the river.

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We use traffic modelling to predict how many vehicles will use each part of the road network and the time it will take people to complete their journey, both with and without the crossing. Our traffic model takes into account information such as population, fuel pricing and changes to income.

The crossing will provide more reliable journeys across the river.

Since our statutory consultation, we have updated elements of our traffic model as part of our ongoing work to prepare for our DCO application. This has included:

  • Updating the list of other road schemes that are likely to be built on the road network, whether the Lower Thames Crossing is built or not.
  • Revising the number of HGVs likely to be on the road network, using more recently published data.
  • Updating the size and location of proposed housing and other developments (these are set out in more detail in the Traffic Modelling Update).
  • Making alterations to reflect the design changes made to the project (these are set out in more detail in section 3).
  • Updating the modelled years.

These updates mean our traffic model can predict future traffic conditions using better information and in line with the latest government guidance. The following information uses data from our updated traffic model.

Reliable journeys

In its first year of operation, more than 30 million vehicles are forecast to use the Lower Thames Crossing. This would relieve congestion at the Dartford Crossing by reducing the number of vehicles there by 22 per cent.

More Information

The Lower Thames Crossing would have enough capacity to allow fast, reliable journey times well into the future. By 2042, we predict the new route would carry more than 36 million vehicles a year (around 100,000 vehicles a day).

It would reduce journey times across the Thames. For example, when the road opens, morning peak time journeys over the Dartford Crossing between M25 junctions 2 and 31 would be cut from 12 minutes on average to just seven minutes.

Traffic forecasts

The maps below show the forecast change in traffic in the year of opening as a result of the new crossing. A decrease in traffic is shown as light blue to purple and an increase in traffic is shown as yellow to red. The new crossing is shown as red as it does not currently exist.

In our traffic modelling we examine three time periods; the am peak (7-8am), the pm peak (5-6pm) and interpeak, which is a typical hour in the middle of the day.

Overall, the impact on traffic is similar during these three modelling periods, with the changes more pronounced and covering a wider area during the morning and evening peaks. However, as with any major new road scheme, traffic flows are forecast to be affected over a wide area.

On some roads, such as the A2 west of its junction with the new crossing, the A13 west of its junction with the new crossing, the Dartford Crossing and the M25 in Thurrock, fewer vehicles will use these routes when the new crossing opens.

Roads on the approach to the new crossing, including the M2, A228, A229, the A13 east of its junction with the new crossing, the A2 east of Gravesend and some sections of the M25, will experience an increase in traffic as travel across the River Thames becomes easier and more reliable.

Have your say
To comment on the affect of the Lower Thames Crossing on traffic conditions in the surrounding road network, please answer questions 7a and 7b.

Congested areas of the Strategic Road Network will be monitored and assessed to determine whether further interventions are required as part of Highways England’s routebased strategies. On the local road network, we are working closely with the relevant local highway authorities to help them better understand the effect of the Lower Thames Crossing.

Find out more
To find out more about how these forecasts are made, and more detail about our traffic modelling, see the Traffic Modelling Update.


Continue to the next section: Section 10: Project timeline

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