A plan for a high-speed tram service to connect Kent and Essex is starting to make progress. The proposed £800million project, run by KenEx is set to include a tramway connecting Grays with Kent via a tunnel under the River Thames, consisting of about 11 miles of rails in total.
The initial part of the project is proposed to be completed by 2028, with a potential further extension to Basildon and Canvey at a cost of £400million.
An outline business case has been accepted by the Department for Transport and a full business case is being finalised is expected to be submitted later this year.
Managing director of KentEx, Gordon Pratt, said “We are very pleased that the core proposal between Kent and Essex has passed the Outline Business Case stage. This year we are moving forward with the Full Business Case and are very much looking forward to providing a step change in connectivity for residents in North Kent”.
Transport Spokeswoman for the House of Lords, Baroness Randerson, said “This is a highly congested area already and it’s going to get worse with all the development planned. This exciting new project is really the golden solution to that problem.”
the initial project is set to be completed by 2028
The Dartford Crossing currently connects the two South East counties, but the M25, A282 and local roads are often backlogged with lines of traffic. The lower Thames Crossing plans are still being reviewed and the proposals for the new tram network could help remove traffic from the busy roads, while also improving the air quality in the region.
Bluewater Shopping Centre is one of the sites earmarked as part of the plans, while Darent Hospital and Ebbsfleet Garden City are also included. Meanwhile, Ebbsfleet International, Ebbsfleet Stadium, Northfleet and Gravesend could also be set to have a station.
Questions have been raised about the initial £800million cost, with many thinking it will come in a lot higher than this, due to the high cost of land in the South-East, as well as the cost of fighting any legal challenges.
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