You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Britain's longest road tunnel is revealed: New 2.5 mile-long toll road with six lanes under the Thames between Gravesend and Tilbury will DOUBLE amount of traffic that can cross the river

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 09/10/2018 Darren Boyle for MailOnline

File photo © Getty File photo * Motorists using the 2.4-mile tunnel and new link roads will have to pay a toll

* The level of the toll has not yet been set although drivers pay £2.50 in Dartford

* Highways England said it will almost double capacity crossing the Thames

* The £6.8billion new tunnel and link roads are expected to be open by 2025

A new £6.8 billion tunnel with almost double the amount of traffic able to cross the River Thames east of London, Highways England have claimed (artist's impression of the tunnel) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A new £6.8 billion tunnel with almost double the amount of traffic able to cross the River Thames east of London, Highways England have claimed (artist's impression of the tunnel) Plans for a new six-lane toll tunnel under the Thames that will almost double the amount of traffic that can cross the river east of London were unveiled this morning.

The new £6.8billion Lower Thames Crossing will be expanded from a four-lane to six-lane highway and at 2.4 miles long will be Britain's longest road tunnel, according to the latest proposals. 

Highways England, which will today begin a 10-week public consultation over the plans, said they hoped the road could be operational by 2025.

a close up of a map © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Motorists will pay a toll to use the new tunnel according to Highways England, who are managing the project. 

The level of the toll has not yet been decided, although a Highways England source confirmed it was their aim that any charge would be 'affordable'.  

Drivers crossing the existing bridge and tunnels in nearby Dartford pay £2.50 for each crossing unless they have an account.  

The government-owned company will launch a 10-week public consultation on the latest designs on Wednesday.

a view of a road: An artist's impression shows how the new road's junction with the M25 in Essex will look. The Lower Thames Crossing will be tolled although the cost has not been revealed © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited An artist's impression shows how the new road's junction with the M25 in Essex will look. The Lower Thames Crossing will be tolled although the cost has not been revealed

The scheme's budget has risen to a range of £5.3 billion to £6.8 billion due to more detailed design work and ground investigations. 

A previous estimate put the range at £4.4 billion to £6.2 billion. Other changes in the latest designs include:

The 14.5 mile route is expected to open in 2025 and will connect the M2 near Rochester in Kent and the M25 in Essex between North and South Ockenden.

a city street filled with lots of traffic: The new tunnel is designed to reduce congestion on the existing crossings at Dartford © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The new tunnel is designed to reduce congestion on the existing crossings at Dartford

It will include a 2.4 mile tunnel, which would be the UK's longest road tunnel.

This will be the first new crossing of the river east of London since Dartford's Queen Elizabeth II bridge opened in 1991.

The only existing route for motorists is the Dartford Crossing, which consists of the bridge and two tunnels.

It is used for 50 million journeys annually and is often the scene of frustration for motorists stuck in traffic jams for several hours following accidents.

a bridge over a body of water: Motorists currently pay £2.50 to use the existing Dartford Crossing, pictured © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Motorists currently pay £2.50 to use the existing Dartford Crossing, pictured

The new crossing is expected to reduce traffic at Dartford by 22 per cent. Public transport groups claim ministers should instead focus on improving rail links.

There are also fears that traffic using the new crossing will blight communities with pollution on approach roads.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the crossing will 'transform journeys, create new business opportunities in Kent and Essex and unlock productivity across the UK'.

The scheme's project director, Tim Jones, described it as 'the biggest single road upgrade since the M25 was completed more than 30 years ago'.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon