Technical partner confirmed for Lower Thames Crossing

Lower Thames Crossing

Highways England (HE) has confirmed that it has appointed the LTC Cascade joint venture of CH2M, Arcadis and Cowi as technical partner for the £5bn Lower Thames Crossing.

LTC Cascade will help HE take the project forward with outline designs and environmental impact assessments for application for a Development Consent Order. As technical partner, LTC Cascade will also assist with procurement of the scheme's principal contracts.

The HE announced its selection of a two mile, twin-bored tunnel and preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing in January this year as it launched a two month public consultation on options for connecting the tunnels to the motorway network in Essex and Kent. The tunnels will cross beneath the Thames between Tilbury and Gravesham 10 miles to the East of the existing Dartford Crossing. New motorway will connect the tunnels to the M25 in Essex and to the M2 in Kent to the south.

HE director of complex infrastructure, Chris Taylor, said: “A new Lower Thames Crossing will unlock massive economic potential for people in Essex, Kent and the whole of the UK. We need to have a world class team to ensure that the project we end up taking forward will deliver its full potential and our technical partner will help us do just that. I’m delighted that LTC Cascade has been appointed to this vital role and I look forward to working with them to deliver this crossing and its legacy for Britain.”

The HE is understood to be planning to invite international consortia to express interest in bidding for the principal tunneling and road construction contracts.

The HE has also confirmed that the Lower Thames Crossing will be tolled. Estuary crossings are tolled as matter of policy, it said, but the Lower Thames Crossing also has to be tolled to ensure parity with the alternative Dartford Crossing.

The £4bn-£6bn price tag for the new crossing is expected to be included in the Department for Transport's Roads Investment Strategy 2 programme currently being drawn up for the five year period from 2021-2026. The Crossing is expected to be completed in around 10 years time.