An artist's impression of the Lower Thames Crossing's junction with the M25 in Essex. -PA
A major new road incorporating the Lower Thames Crossing will be a three-lane dual carriageway throughout to almost double road capacity across the river, Highways England has announced, as the revamped £6bn scheme goes out to fresh public consultation.
The government says the controversial link from Essex to Kent, billed as Britain's most ambitious road scheme since the M25 motorway orbiting London was built, will boost south-east England's economy and tackle congestion across the Thames east of London when it opens in 2027.
Campaigners and councils have strongly opposed the scheme, which threatens to destroy wetlands and increase car use and is being pushed through immediately after UN warnings of catastrophic climate change.
The planned 14.5 mile (23.3km) road between the M25 and the M2, which serves the Channel ports, will run through a 2.4 mile tunnel under the Thames, the longest road tunnel in the UK and the third widest bored tunnel in the world.
It is expected to divert 14m vehicles a year from the Dartford Crossing, the only road crossing east of London, cutting northbound journey times around the M25.The preferred route was approved by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, in April 2017.
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