Lower Thames Crossing

Information about the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, including context and background.

Highways England is assessing options for a new road crossing over the Thames. The Lower Thames Crossing will reduce congestion at the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossing, which is currently running over capacity. It will also support growth plans, including new homes and jobs in Essex and Kent.

Following numerous studies and a public consultation in 2013, the government confirmed that a new crossing is needed. Highways England is examining two location options:

  • near the existing Dartford-Thurrock crossing
  • a new link connecting the A2/M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30

Highways England is leading work to:

  • determine the best location for the new crossing
  • research different route options
  • examine the benefits of a bridge crossing versus a tunnel
  • assess economic, environmental and social impacts
  • assess cost and value for money

This work is progressing well and we are on course to report to the Department for Transport in time for a public consultation which is expected to take place early next year.

As a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project the new Lower Thames Crossing will be subject to a Development Consent Order. This process includes a requirement for extensive pre-application consultation procedures.

Subject to planning approvals, we currently estimate a new crossing could be open in 2025 if entirely publicly funded.


The country is growing. The population is expected to increase by 15% over the next 20 years – almost 10 million people – with the South East predicted to see some of the highest growth.

The Thames Gateway extends from east London to Thurrock, Southend and south Essex, Medway and north Kent. It is an area that has grown significantly in recent years and has ambitious plans for further development.

Over the past three decades this has included new housing and major retail development at Lakeside and Bluewater. Further growth and development plans include, for example, Ebbsfleet Garden City. Tens of thousands of new homes and new jobs are planned across Kent and Essex.

Inadequate transport links are a major barrier preventing this growth. A new lower Thames Crossing will take pressure off the existing crossing and connect communities, businesses and commuters north and south of the river.

Transport spending review

Transport spending review 2010

Written ministerial statements

Under Secretary Stephen Hammond 21 May 2013

Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin 12 December 2013

National Infrastructure Plan

National Infrastructure Plan

Government response

Government response to Lower Thames Crossing 2014

Road investment strategy

Road investment strategy 2014