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Lower Thames Crossing’s costs jump by £363 million

Words: Huw Morris
Lower Thames Crossing visualisation

The bill for the Lower Thames Crossing has leapt by £363 million and could rise even further, according to the Office for Road and Rail (ORR).

The scheme had been scheduled to be completed in 2027 or 2028, but Highways England withdrew its application for a development consent order last October.

Extra costs from revised works, including air quality control, environmental measures and traffic management have “contributed to an increasing cost pressure on funding requirements”, according to the ORR’s annual assessment of Highways England’s performance. The 12-month delay in resubmitting the planning application plans has also not been costed in the agency’s forecasts, it reveals.

If built, the Lower Thames Crossing will be the UK’s longest road tunnel, at 2.6 miles. The tunnel is just one element of a larger scheme that will see 14 miles of new road linking the M25 north of the Thames in Essex with the M2 south of the Thames in Kent. Overall, the new road will require 50 new bridges and viaducts, and is budgeted at £6.3 billion.

Image credit | Highways England