An ambitious plan to build a tram route linking north Kent and Essex would be a tenth of the cost of the Lower Thames Crossing yet would take just 4% fewer commuters, according to the people behind the scheme.
The project was proposed earlier this year as a secondary way to relieve congestion in Dartford, as work accelerates on the controversial LTC, which the government has earmarked for east of Gravesend, despite the efforts of local campaigners. A map charting proposed stops for the tram route, known as KenEx Thames Transit, has also been released, with three potential routes identified, as the project ramps up a gear.
If the scheme goes ahead, two of those routes – one between Lakeside and Bluewater and another connecting Dartford and Gravesend – will be built within the next five years.
The £600million price tag is just a fraction of the £4.4bn-£6.2bn cost of the LTC due in part to the newly proposed ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnelling method – which would see a trench excavated along the bed of the Thames and sections of the single-track tunnel sunk into position.
The construction method has been used on 100 projects worldwide, including the Medway Tunnel.