Businesses from across Essex, Thurrock and Kent have been encouraged to start preparing for an £8 billion boost to the South East economy as a result of the Lower Thames Crossing.
At an event organised by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), more than a hundred senior representatives from business and local authorities joined Tim Jones, Project Director of the Lower Thames Crossing, for a preview of the 13-mile route and an update on the recent design changes.
Mr Jones explained that for Highways England, “the Lower Thames Crossing is critically important to help unlock the economic potential for Kent, Thurrock and Essex. This region is a hive of activity.
“Moving people from north to south across the Thames with fluidity is a priority for Highways England. It is vital for the road network to get the relief it needs in order for the economy to grow. We need the Lower Thames Crossing and Dartford Crossing to work in tandem.”
The ‘Robots, Routes, Revenue’ event coincided with SELEP’s work on its Strategic Economic Plan, designed to drive forward the economy of Kent, Essex and East Sussex.
Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, added: “For an area to grow and prosper it must have a vision and know where it wants to be, and that is why we are updating the Strategic Economic Plan.
“We must invest in our roads, rail and airports in order to help attract new businesses and jobs, and create an environment that stimulates economic growth.
“The new crossing is much more than just a tunnel with a road at either end as it will have a positive impact on the economy of the SELEP area, and the UK as a whole.”
To conclude the presentation, Mr Jones for the Lower Thames Crossing took the audience through the project timeline, explaining that we are expecting the crossing to open by 2027 subject to planning consent and finance arrangements. He added, “We have a big challenge on our hands. If you believe that this project is right for this area, then we want to work alongside you over the next few years, and add something back to the local communities once the infrastructure is complete.”
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