As well as concerns that it would be hugely destructive and harmful, one of the other main reasons that we and so many others strongly oppose the proposed Lower Thames Crossing is because it simply is not fit for purpose.
What is the purpose of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing?
The original need for a new crossing was due to the issues we all suffer with due to the Dartford Crossing, and that is what Highways England were tasked to design a new crossing for, to fix those problems.
Jump forward to present day and the list of ‘benefits of the proposed LTC has morphed into being about economic benefit and growth. Yet whilst HE keep talking about the economic benefits of the LTC, they refuse to provide an actual estimated figure on what those economic benefits would be. If they are as good as they like to suggest, then surely they’d be shouting the figure from the rooftops, not refusing to share it!
So would it fix the problems at the Dartford Crossing?
Back to the original task of fixing the issues we all suffer with due to the Dartford Crossing. Tim Jones, who was LTC Project Director until he resigned in July 2019, had publicly stated on numerous occasions that it will not solve all the problems we all suffer with due to the Dartford Crossing. More recently in a BBC Essex Radio interview on 2nd Sept 2021 LTC Project Director, Matt Palmer also said it would not solve the problems.
The Dartford Crossing was designed to take 135,000 vehicles per day, but often sees 180,000 using it.
Highways England’s own data proves that the Dartford Crossing would still be over capacity, even if the LTC goes ahead, and the figures just got worse with the latest consultation info.
Dig deep enough into the latest Community Impacts Consultation materials, and HE reveal that they now only predict that LTC would take 21% of traffic away from the Dartford Crossing in it’s opening year, and that would drop down to just 14% by 2044. HE had previously stated that LTC would take 22% of traffic away from the Dartford Crossing.
Take 21% off 180,000 and you still have 142,200 vehicles using the Dartford Crossing, and that’s not taking predicted traffic growth into account.
HE have previously predicted traffic growth of between 17-23%, so let’s use an average of 20% for predicted traffic growth.
180,000 vehicles using Dartford Crossing per day. Add 20% predicted traffic growth, you get 216,000 vehicles per day using Dartford Crossing.
Now take the 21% away from 216,000, that HE predict the LTC would take away from the Dartford Crossing and you still have 170,640 vehicles per day using the Dartford Crossing, when it’s capacity is 135,000 vehicles per day.
So the answer to the question of whether it would fix the problems at the Dartford Crossing is NO! It would still remain over capacity, and we’d still be experiencing the associated problems.
HE also admit in the Operations Updates page 126
‘When the project opens some of the traffic that currently crosses the river using the Dartford Crossing is predicted to divert to the Lower Thames Crossing because it would offer a shorter route for their journey. Some of the space this creates at the Dartford Crossing would be taken up by people who were not using it before because they were deterred by high traffic levels and unpredictable journey times‘
But couldn’t we just migrate over to the LTC when there’s an incident at the Dartford Crossing?
Most would assume that this would be a priority consideration when designing a new crossing to fix the problems we all suffer with, so that we can use a new crossing as an alternative route, especially when there are incidents.
However, and it’s a big however, HE do not have to and are not considering how traffic would migrate between the two crossings when there are incidents, if the LTC goes ahead, and there would not be adequate connections.
Take a look at our Incidents update that gives more detail into why there would not be adequate connections, and how it would lead to more chaos, congestion and pollution.
Even when there’s not an incident
There is still a distinct lack of adequate connections even when there isn’t an incident. Take a look at the Stanford Detour for example, there are many instance this would need to be used regardless of whether there are any incidents occuring.
The above evidence tells us that the proposed LTC is simply not fit for purpose.
With the cost of the proposed LTC now up to £8.2bn of taxpayers money, in addition to the fact that LTC would be hugely destructive and harmful for so many reasons, and evidence that the proposed LTC is not fit for purpose we struggle to see why anyone would think LTC is a good idea. This is the reason we say NO to the LTC!
Dartford Crossing design capacity 135,000 and currently often sees 180,000 vehicles per day – (Operations Update: page 112)
LTC to take 21% of traffic from Dartford Crossing (Operations Update: page 126)
LTC Exec Director admits LTC not fit for purpose – click here
Previous TCAG update on this when LTC was predicted to take 22% of traffic from Dartford Crossing – click here