Dartford Crossing backlogs are hardly an unfamiliar site, particularly in rush hour traffic on the M25. The new Lower Thames Crossing will be the nation’s biggest road project since the M25 build 35 years ago, which promises less congestion on the QEII bridge and an excellent new link between Essex and Kent which will double road capacity between the two counties. At Unite People, we’ve pulled together crucial reasons why the Lower Thames Crossing is something for Civil Engineers to get excited about.
Setting a new record for the longest underground tunnel
Not only is this project monumental in terms of spend, but also in scale. The Lower Thames Crossing will be the longest underground tunnel in the UK at 2.6 miles. The total road project will span over 14 miles, involving almost 50 new bridges and viaducts and expanding lanes on connecting roads such as the M2, A13 & M25 – roads and projects that Unite People have supported with skilled staff for years.
Jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs
One of the most notable benefits of this project is the number of job opportunities this scheme will create - not just for civil engineers and construction professionals, but for all industries contributing to this record project for the UK. The project will likely span six to seven years, and the government anticipates the Lower Thames Crossing will generate over 22,000 jobs in this time. The increased economic opportunities it will enable due to travel barriers between Kent & Essex are significantly relieved.
There will also be hundreds of opportunities at apprenticeship and graduate level, supporting those entering into civil engineering and construction careers.
Part of the Covid-19 Recovery: Build Back Better
Creating new jobs is always a win, but it’s an even more significant cause for celebration in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as we embark on our substantial economic recovery. Despite concerns the project may be side-lined, the government confirmed their intentions to proceed with this landmark project for the South East as part of the government’s Covid-19 recovery scheme. The Lower Thames Crossing received record funding despite being just one of the many outlined projects in the Government’s National Infrastructure Strategy, including nationwide opportunities on various other projects such as HS2 or the Stonehenge Tunnel.
Enabling works for the Lower Thames Crossing are underway. Highways England has already taken the next steps towards constructing the crossing by awarding the integration contract to Jacobs. They will handle the delivery and prepare for swift mobilisation of three main works construction teams. Additionally, Highways England seeks new cost-planning consultants for road projects in-line with the start of this new project to increase decision-making accuracy.
Harnesses digital resources to improve site communication
Civil Engineering has constantly evolved with technology, and this project partners with Arcadis, who utilise tablets for digital data capturing to improve health & safety, speed of communication, remove barriers between site and office, and provide everyone with real-time data to improve efficiency of work on site. The impact of decisions is observable live, lowering the risk of costly mistakes.
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