We’ve been waiting on answers to some of our questions to Highways England about the proposed Lower Thames Crossing for some time now, and have finally just got a batch of further LTC updates/answers, so here’s the latest info!
Average monthly HGV movements during construction
We note that on page 106 in the Supplementary Consultation Guide they list average number of HGV journeys per month. However as we are very aware from the Ground Investigations and Archaeological Trial Trenching Survey works that are currently being carried out at various locations, it is not just HGVs on the road in relation to these works. We asked HE:
- Please could you clarify exactly what is included in the figures quoted in the movements per month. Is this strictly HGVs, as opposed to all LTC associated traffic? Will things like large diggers etc arrive on the back of HGVs so be included in these figures? Does this include staff vehicles (non HGV), going to and from compounds? Does it include site vehicles such as the one we were taken in on the GI site visit, or similar?Please could you provide predicted traffic movements in total for all LTC associated vehicles including staff vehicles on a monthly basis during the construction period?
- “We will use a combination of the Strategic Road Network, local road network (which would be minimised) and offline haul routes to access our construction sites. Offline haul routes would be constructed alongside the proposed alignment and used temporarily to facilitate construction movements across the site to minimise use of the public road network.The numbers include all online HGV movements (including diggers etc).. i.e. all movements using the public road network. It doesn’t include staff movements (i.e. no LGV or cars etc).
We are continuing to develop the details of our construction analysis, this will enable us to provide more detail at DCO submission. The exact level of detail is still being developed as part of the preparation of our Environmental Statement. We will of course work with local authorities in the lead up to DCO submission and as the appointed contractor develops their detailed traffic plans.”
We’re a little confused as to whether the HGV making the offline movements have been included in the figures or not, as they have to get to the offline routes somehow using the Strategic Road Network and local roads. We have emailed HE back for further clarification and will share any response as we receive it.
You can find out other update about construction hours/routes at www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/proposed-construction-hours-routes/
Spoil from tunnelling
- Could you please let us know what the latest info is regarding what will happen to all the spoil from LTC tunnelling please. Where will the spoil go? What would it be used for?
- “The spoil will be removed from the ramp and tunnel at the Northern portal and will remain in that area and be reused on site when and where possible. This will minimise offsite disposal and vehicle movements. Any surplus material would then be transported to designated disposal sites by lorry or alternative methods of transport like river barge and rail.“
We have followed up to ask why there is an increase in HGV movements in this particular area. Also asking where the designated disposal sites are or are being considered to be. Also we have asked since much of the spoil is expected to be chalk, how the spoil will be used and what will be done to ensure the area doesn’t end up looking like a snow blizzard has barrelled through the area, and the health impacts chalk dust potentially blowing about could have.
LTC route moved 60m from Chadwell to Linford
- Please could you provide details of how much money HE save by moving the LTC route to the south of the A13 and east of Chadwell St Mary around 60m closer to Linford to avoid having to move some overhead cables and pylons?
NB. We asked this question because we are trying to ascertain what price HE put on the wellbeing of residents over cost of moving pylons
- “Defining the route at any location is a complex assessment across multiple areas of consideration including and in no particular order, highway design, environmental considerations including residential communities and any construction impacts.This realignment has enabled a significant reduction in utility diversion with all the associated construction and environmental impacts. While it is highly likely that this reduced scope will reduce costs, it is too early to be able to determine what the value of this cost saving is.The consideration of all aspects of this local realignment will of course be factored into the detailed Environmental Statement currently being prepared.”
Clearly no answer to the actual question, and again we have to wait for the Environmental Statement which is released at Development Consent Order submission stage.
Archaeological Trial Trenching survey sites information
- Please could you let us know when and how info about what is discovered at all the Aracheological Trial Trenching survey sites will be released to the public
- “The results will be fed into the Historic Environment Record (maintained by Essex and Kent) which is a publicly accessible register of known heritage within an area, within six months of the completion of the fieldwork. The reports produced will also form part of the Environmental Statement when it is submitted. In wider terms the ATT is only the first part of the archaeological work on the scheme and there will be a requirement to publish the results.”
We have emailed HE back to ask for details of where we will be able to access that info, and if it is possible to be alerted when the info is released, and/or details of who can alert us when it is released!
90% extra road capacity
Many of you like us have been curious as to how HE can state that LTC gives an extra 90% capacity. We asked them for more details of this, as clearly it is not the amount of lanes as that would only be 75%.
- “This is calculated based on the capacity of each lane at the Dartford Crossing and at the Lower Thames Crossing. The capacity of the northbound crossing at Dartford is impacted by the Traffic Management Unit (which closes all lanes to allow escorts to take place, and to enable high sided vehicles in the wrong lane to be removed etc) and as such a lower effective capacity is applied. As there is to be no TMU of the same nature at LTC, the capacity per lane is higher than at Dartford, which results in the 90% increase quoted, as opposed to 75%, which is the increase in the number of lanes.”
If like us you feel this is misleading, and not clear and informative please do say so in your consulation response forms. As we keep saying HE have a legal obligation to consult us adeqately with clear and informative materials. They have to read, log and analyze everything we put in our responses. They will not want the Planning Inspectorate hearing comments and evidence of an inadequate consultation. We need to comment and report anything we consider to be an inadequacy with as much evidence and reasoning as possible please. Hopefully we can force HE to re-run the consultation and get the adequate consultation we deserve and are entitled to!
Compound near Sainsburys/Lakeside area
We’ve had quite a few people ask or tell us about LTC vehicles being seen in or near a compound just by the Sainsbury’s roundabout near Lakeside. Where the original coach park of Lakeside was for those who remember!
HE have now confirmed to us that their contractors working on the archaeological trail trenching and surveys are using the compound near Lakeside.
Ockendon Rd bus service
We like others are questioning what will happen with regard to the bus service along Ockendon Rd if LTC goes ahead during the construction period.
HE’s reponse to this is:
- “I’m sorry to learn that there are some concerns regarding bus services serving Ockendon Road during construction. I’d like to assure you that we’ll continue to engage with the councils to ensure diversions and alternative routes are put in place for local residents.“
Don’t know about anyone else but doesn’t give us much reassurance. What diversions and alternative routes could be used in instances like this?
‘Smart’ LTC, safety, emergency areas and emergency vehicle access
We also received further info in response to our many questions on the ‘smart’ aspect of LTC, distances, positioning, and frequency of Emergency Refuge Area/Emergency Areas, emergency vehicle access, safety for road users. We felt that update warranted a post of it’s own as it contained lots of info, which you can find here – www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/smart-ltc-aspects-of-safety/.
Don’t forget regardless of what the topic is this Supplementary Consultation is the time to have your say. Please do comment and gives as much detail and evidence as poss to back up your comments. If you have found any of the consultation materials that HE have provided to not be clear and informative please comment about that too, providing explanations as to why it is not clear and informative. HE have a legal obligation to provide us we adequate consultation with clear and informative materials, so if we feel that is not the case we need to speak up!