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Fourth crossing option LATEST

PUBLISHED: 09:56 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 25 August 2010

Plans for an environmentally friendly combined road and rail river crossing have been unveiled Details of plans for a crossing, with an estimated cost of around £4 billion, were put forward by business consortium Metrotidal on Tuesday.

Plans for an environmentally friendly combined road and rail river crossing have been unveiled

Details of plans for a crossing, with an estimated cost of around £4 billion, were put forward by business consortium Metrotidal on Tuesday.

The government is considering three options for a 'second Dartford crossing' to ease congestion, including one next to the existing crossing, one at the Swanscombe Peninsula and one to the east of Gravesend.

But Metrotidal proposes a fourth option, linking the Hoo Peninsular and West Canvey in Essex.

Company bosses hope their plan will be reconsidered despite the government initially ruling out the option.

The eight kilometre crossing would have two rail tracks, two three-lane roads and incorporate tidal barriers in the Thames to act as a flood defence and create sustainable energy.

Metrotidal director and architect Mark Willingale said: "It would be an integrated infrastructure, incorporating passenger and freight transport, sustainable living and flood defences. Each of these things costs a lot of money to achieve independently, but if you bring them together, you can save a lot of money."

Mr Willingale said the crossing has three main functions - combining Crossrail in Kent and Essex, linking up Ebbsfleet station and Stanstead airport and joining the Channel Port and East Coast Port. It would connect the A289 in Kent and the A130 in Essex and likewise the A2 to the A13 and A127.

Mr Willingale added: "It will help achieve sustainable growth in the Thames Gateway and promote links between Kent and Essex."

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "The Environment Agency's view is that the existing Thames Barrier - with modification - will provide sufficient flood protection for London until around 2070 and any new barrier would not be required before.

"The Department therefore concluded that linking a third crossing with any new flood barrier would not be appropriate."

On Monday the government confirmed plans to sell off the existing Dartford Crossing as part of its Asset Protection Scheme.

A spokesperson said the government had concluded that "partial or full sale is the right approach" and that the transactions were now being processed.

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