As we have explained previously, one of the problems of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing is the lack of adequate connections to the existing road network. You may already be aware of the Stanford Detour issues. The changes in the current 2020 consultation do nothing to address this major issue, and if anything actually contribute to making the issue worse.
The Stanford Detour
During the 2018 consultation we flagged the issue of instances where traffic will be forced to detour to the Stanford junction on the A13. If you wish to review what we said back then please visit – www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/some-a13-ltc-updates/.
For an overview of the Stanford Detour issue in relation to the current 2020 changes please watch this video, and read the detail below.
So where do we stand on this topic with the current 2020 changes?
Highways England provide us with a chart to show the A13/A1089 junction connections on page 63 of the Supplementary Consultation Guide.
How to read this table: Find your starting point or location in the left hand column then look along the columns to see which direct connections you can make.
As you can see there are some scenarios that simply cannot be carried out directly, and will result in the need to detour to get to your destination. Complicated routes and lack of adequate connections, not only adds additional traffic to other roads, but confused drivers trying to work out how to reach their destination can easily get lost, or worse could increase the chances of having an accident whilst trying to figure out how to get where they want to go.
Make no mistake these are complicated connections, and one wrong move could be further confusing and often long detours to be able to turn around and come back for a second attempt. HE have not provided any information about the signage they propose using to help us try to understand how drivers will be guided through these complicated and confusing junctions.
NB. For clarification for those who may not be aware, the A1089 south is the road from the A13 and leads to Tilbury Port, docks, London Cruise Terminal, Amazon, Asda, etc, and into Tilbury, so a very busy route.
Let’s look at some of the scenarios under normal conditions
Lower Thames Crossing (north or southbound) to A1089 (southbound)
As the chart above shows, traffic starting on the LTC northbound or southbound will not be able to directly connect to the A1089 southbound.
Any traffic wanting to come off the LTC (from either direction) and head southbound down the A1089 to Tilbury will have to detour eastbound along the A13 to the Stanford junction, up and around the traffic lighted roundabout (alongside all the DP World traffic) , back westbound along the A13 to the LTC/A1089 junction which is just after you come back under the Rectory Rd (Orsett) bridge over the A13.
Traffic wanting to access the LTC (north or southbound) or the A1089 southbound from the Orsett Cock (inc A128 traffic)
The chart above references traffic from the Orsett Cock roundabout with a red star. It shows that traffic from the Orsett Cock will not be able to access the LTC (in either direction) or the A1089 southbound.
This is because the LTC and A1089 slip road sits to the west of the Orsett Cock, and there would be a new slip road from the Orsett Cock onto the A13 westbound which will not merge onto the A13 until after the point that the LTC and A1089 junction leaves the A13.
How about when there is an incident in the Dartford Crossing/M25 area
Via the A13 eastbound
The connections chart above again shows that traffic heading eastbound on the A13 cannot directly access the LTC either north or southbound. So whenever there is an incident at or near the Dartford Crossing and traffic wants/needs to migrate to the LTC to cross the river it will not have direct access to it from the A13 heading eastbound.
Again, traffic heading eastbound on the A13 would have to detour all the way down to the Stanford Junction, up and around the traffic lighted roundabout, and then head back westbound along the A13 to the LTC junction just past where the Rectory Rd (Orsett) bridge crosses the A13. Remember you cannot access the LTC from the Orsett Cock roundabout (see above).
Via the A127 and down the A128 (or A12 through Brentwood and down A128)
As we have already mentioned traffic from the Orsett Cock roundabout, including A128 traffic cannot access the LTC. Yet again it will need to detour eastbound along the A13 to the Stanford junction, up around the traffic lighted roundabout, and then head back westbound to the LTC junction just after passing underneath where the Rectory Rd (Orsett) bridge crosses the A13.
Just take a moment to consider how often there are incidents at the Dartford Crossing (heading south) and along the stretch of A282/M25 that leads up to the QE2 bridge.
Now consider that even if that traffic tries to migrate to the LTC via the LTC junction on the M25. It will potentially mean 5 lanes of M25 traffic trying to get onto just 2 lanes of LTC southbound all the way to just past the A13. You can read more about that built in bottleneck here – www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/ltc-bottleneck-m25-a13-junctions/.
NB. Alternatively, traffic could also try cutting westbound along the A13/A127 etc from the M25 to the Blackwall Tunnel and/or through London to get across the river. Also any time there is an incident traffic will in general rat run any possible route they can, as we already know only too well sadly.
You may also find it helpful to view this update for more info on the LTC/A1089/A13 junctions – www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/ltc-a13-junctions/.
Stanford junction roundabout
Thanks to Peter Woodard for sharing the image to the left with us, that clearly shows how just 2 HGVs stuck at a red traffic light on the Stanford junction roundabout block access to the Manorway down to the ports.
Imagine what it would be like with traffic, especially HGVs from the LTC, A128/Orsett Cock junction wishing to access the A1089 south that have to take the Stanford Detour.
Then imagine what it will be like when there is an incident at the Dartford Crossing or on the stretch of the M25 up to the LTC, and how traffic will migrate along the A13 eastbound, or via the A128 trying to get onto the LTC only to find they have to take the Stanford Detour.
(Click on the image to enlarge)
Stanford Detour to be adopted by Highways England
The A13 between the M25 and the A1089 (Tilbury junction), and the A1089 down to Tilbury Port is currently managed and maintained by Highways England as part of the Strategic Road Network, as it is a trunk road due to the port.
Highways England and Thurrock Council are now discussing HE adopting the A13 from the A1089 down to the A1014 (Stanford junction) and Manorway down to DP World and London Gateway.
This means that the A13 widening and newly announced Manorway works that have been funded in part by the council and DPWLG will soon become HE’s responsibility. Therefore if the LTC goes ahead the Stanford Detour route will all be HE managed and maintained roads.
See – RIS2 report – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951100/road-investment-strategy-2-2020-2025.pdf – page 37 (page 43/131 in pdf doc)