Lower Thames Crossing Planning Costs Reach £300 Million and Surpass Norway’s World-Record Tunnel Project

The Lower Thames Crossing project has been in the works for over 15 years and has yet to see any physical progress. However, the planning costs have already reached a staggering £300 million.

The proposed Lower Thames Crossing, which would connect Kent and Essex and ease congestion on the Dartford Crossing, has become the longest planning application on record with a total of 359,866 pages spread over 2,838 separate documents. This amounts to a stack of paper that would stretch 66 miles if laid out on the ground, equivalent to a trip from Gravesend to Cambridge.

While the project is expected to cost around £9 billion for the 2.4-mile tunnel, it has already surpassed the amount Norway spent on building the world’s longest road tunnel in 2000, which cost £140 million for 15.2 miles. This highlights the excessive costs of the planning process in Britain, which has been plagued by multiple rounds of consultation and last-minute government delays.

Sam Richards, founder and campaign director at Britain Remade, expressed his support for the project but also acknowledged the high costs and inefficiencies of the planning system. He pointed out that for the amount being spent on the Lower Thames Crossing planning, Norway could have built the world’s longest and deepest road tunnels and still have change left over.

However, not all are in favor of the project. The Thames Crossing Action Group believes that the new tunnel will not effectively ease congestion at the Dartford Crossing. Their chairman, Laura Blake, argued that the proposed project would still result in closures and traffic congestion, and that there are better and more sustainable alternatives available.

In the coming weeks, National Highways will be holding a series of community drop-in events where people can voice their concerns and ask questions about the project. These include a pop-up event at Bluewater in Greenhithe on February 13 and drop-ins at various locations in Gravesend and Dartford in March.

The Lower Thames Crossing has been a long-awaited project to improve transportation between Kent and Essex, but with the planning costs reaching an exorbitant amount and concerns raised by campaigners, it remains to be seen if it will truly ease congestion and benefit the local communities.

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