The preferred route for the £6bn Lower Thames Crossing will be the most expensive of the options originally proposed, the transport secretary has announced.
The new crossing, which is expected to create up to 6,000 jobs during the construction phase, will bridge a gap in the lower Thames by linking the A2 and the M25 to reduce congestion on the Dartford Crossing.
The planned route will run from the M25 near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett before crossing under the Thames east of Tilbury and Gravesend.
The route chosen is the most expensive option available and includes a bored tunnel crossing under the Thames east of Gravesend and Tilbury, known as Location C.
A new link road will then take traffic to the A2 near Shorne, close to where the route becomes the M2.
This route was identified by the majority of nearly 47,000 respondents to a consultation on a new Lower Thames Crossing as the best solution for reducing traffic and congestion at the Dartford Crossing, and for boosting the economy by improving links to London and the Channel ports.
A further £10m will be used to improve traffic flow at and around the existing crossing as well as studying ways to further tackle congestion.
This will include a wide-ranging investigation into options to cut ‘rat-running’ through Dartford and Thurrock.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our £23bn investment into our roads is already making a difference, with schemes being completed across the country, including the M1 Catthorpe junction and A556 at Knutsford, cutting journey times for millions of motorists.
“The schemes announced today not only show we are taking decisions, we are planning upgrades and we are completing roads – making the lives of millions of motorists better.”