On 11 December, Lower Thames Crossing Project Director Tim Jones was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the prestigious New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Awards.
While the focus of the day was on celebrating the industry’s achievements over the past year, Tim noted that the biggest change to the tunnelling community in recent times has been the shift towards more accessible and inclusive design.
“Perhaps the most influential change to us as engineers and to you as the tunnelling community, comes from the people we design and build for,” explained Tim. “The communities and customers we serve have an increasingly powerful voice, particularly in key areas such as air pollution, traffic, sustainability, design, accessibility and integration.”
At Highways England, we understand the critically important role that communities play in shaping our schemes and we are keen to work closely with them to deliver sustainable solutions that enable local and regional growth, while also minimising environmental and community impacts.
One way we do this is through ongoing engagement with local stakeholders to gain a better understanding of their needs. Last week we met with more than 30 Gravesham Councillors to discuss how the Lower Thames Crossing will provide better journeys, strengthen and connect local communities, and improve access to jobs, housing, leisure and retail facilities on both sides of the river.
Our Community Engagement team also met with over 100 local residents at a Lower Thames Crossing information session in Gravesend to discuss the latest project developments and answer residents’ questions. The team was able to hear local residents’ views on our proposals and to discuss our approach to designing the new route.