Consultation Gets Underway for Major New Infrastructure Project

Romford is a town that already boasts great transport links. But the new Lower Thames Crossing could make it even more of a property hotspot.

10 October 2018 marked the beginning of a ten-week consultation on a project described by the BBC as the largest road upgrade project since the construction of the M25. It is, of course, the Lower Thames Crossing, a project that was causing no shortage of debate before the plans had even been made public.

While there is still plenty to decide, one thing that is beyond doubt is that every estate agent in Romford will be bracing itself for a surge of interest, as one of the best-connected towns in the south east gets ready to enjoy even better transport links.

The planned route

The new Thames crossing is just part of a major new infrastructure development that will make travel from Essex to Kent and beyond easier than ever. The crossing itself will be in the form of a 2.4 mile tunnel that will connect Tilbury to the north with Gravesend to the south. The tunnel will be connected to the M25 midway between Junctions 29 and 30, close to Ockendon Road, while to the south, it will link up with the M2 close to Cobham, just to the north of Rochester.

Improving traffic links

The crossing itself will be around 15 miles from Romford as the crow flies, but the impact on the town should not be underestimated. Romford residents enjoy fantastic public transport links, with a wealth of buses and rail links that are set to become even better when the Crossrail project reaches completion. In fact, the only real Achilles heel is for those who travel by car.

Junction 29 of the M25 is less than six miles away, but during rush hour, in particular, congestion is common. The most common culprit? The bottleneck that is the Dartford river crossing. Right now, this is the only means of crossing the Thames to the east of London, and it carries far more traffic every day than it was ever designed to cope with. The Lower Thames Crossing will act as a relief valve, improving traffic flow. But the benefits do not stop there.

The M2 is the route we all follow to get to the main ports of Dover, Folkestone and, of course, the Channel Tunnel. The new crossing will slash journey times, not just improving road links into Kent, but providing easier access to the whole of Europe.

Counting the cost

The project will cost an estimated £6 billion, so it will come as little surprise that not everyone is in favour. Environmental campaigners suggest the money would be better spent on more sustainable alternatives and making further improvements to public transport infrastructure, to encourage people to leave their cars at home. However, this needs to be weighed against the fact that improving traffic flow and reducing congestion will cut vehicle emissions throughout the area.

There will also be a direct cost for drivers, although the exact price of using the new crossing is still to be decided. One thing is certain, however. Residents in Romford and the surrounding area will feel that the boost to property values and the improved road links will mean it is worth every penny.