Lower Thames Crossing supplementary consultation - Utilities

Closes 25 Mar 2020

Opened 29 Jan 2020

Overview

Utilities

Along the proposed Lower Thames Crossing there are a number of existing utilities including overhead electricity cables, gas pipes, water pipes, sewers, fibre-optic and telecoms cables/overhead cables. To build the Lower Thames Crossing safely, protect existing supplies and enable future maintenance, utility diversions would be required.

Works would also be required to connect utilities such as communications, water, electricity and waste water to construction sites along the route, as well as to the service buildings located at the southern and northern tunnel entrances.

Our current proposals

Since our statutory consultation in 2018, we have continued to work with the utility companies and other stakeholders to progress our plans and to ensure the Lower Thames Crossing can be built safely and with minimum disruption.

More Information

Our current proposals for utility diversions and installation, both above and below ground, are outlined in the Utilities Update document. This document can be found in the locations listed under Next steps.

In the Utilities Update we explain our current proposals for each of the following areas:

  • A2 junction and corridor
  • Southern tunnel entrance
  • Tilbury
  • A13 junction (east)
  • A13 junction (west)
  • Ockendon
  • LTC/M25 junction
  • M25 junction 29

The Update also includes diagrams showing the proposed utility diversions and proposed positioning of overhead electricity cables (including relocation of pylons) and where we would look to install utilities for the construction and operation of the Lower Thames Crossing.

As we conitnue to develop our proposals we are also focusing on:

  • reducing working areas
  • minimising the environmental impact
  • minimising the amount and duration of traffic management
  • using the same corridors to combine multiple utilities
  • minimising separation between pipes and cables
  • improving use of stockpiling and storage areas

Mitigating the impacts of works

Where local residents and businesses may be affected by works, we would liaise closely with them to minimise any potential disruption. We are already talking with landowners and occupiers who may be significantly affected and will continue to work with them as plans progress.

More Information

To reduce disruption for road users and the local community, we would look to use trenchless technology to install utilities beneath railways, watercourses and major roads. Trenchless techniques are often used for utility works that need to cross beneath railway lines, roads and watercourses. These methods require few trenches or none as they involve either drilling or pulling pipes and cables below the road, railway line or watercourse. For more information please see the Utilities Update document.

Where this is not possible, and we need to work alongside roads, we would aim to keep any closures to a minimum. Where roads are affected by short-term closures and diversions, temporary traffic lights or lane restrictions, we would ensure people know in advance so they can plan their travel accordingly.

Some local footpaths may be affected and we are working with the relevant local authorities to assess potential diversions. We aim to keep disruption to a minimum and limit full route closures and provide alternative routes. Wherever a right of way is affected, we would provide a nearby alternative.

While we have tried to minimise the impacts on sensitive areas, some of the proposals for utilities include works in woodland, some of which is ancient woodland, local parks and open spaces, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Shorne and Ashenbank Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This is to avoid residential areas and ensure customer supply is maintained. It does mean however that some woodland may need to be removed in certain areas and we are looking at ways to maximise replanting opportunities at these locations as much as possible.

The utilities diversions we are currently proposing around the A2 have increased the impacts on woodland and environmentally protected areas. We are seeking to address this as we continue to develop our designs. We will continue to work closely with the utilities companies to refine diversion routes where we can, with the aim of avoiding or significantly reducing these impacts ahead of our DCO submission.

Details regarding the potential environmental impacts of the utility diversions, and our mitigation proposals, can be found in our Environmental Impacts Update. See Next steps for the locations of where this document can be found.

Next steps

As well as taking into account responses to this consultation, we will continue to engage with the utility companies, key stakeholders and landowners regarding our proposals. Any refinements to the proposed utility works, the land required and utility alignments will be reflected in our DCO application.

The Utilities Update and Environmental Impacts Update documents can also be found at:

Have your say
To comment on our utilities proposal, answer question 6a and 6b in the response form.

Continue to the next section: Section 9: Using the crossing

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