Highways England has today (Thursday 28 January) revealed the major jobs boost the Lower Thames Crossing will give to Kent and Essex, with at least 22,000 people expected to work on the country’s largest road scheme since the M25 was built 35 years ago.
The new crossing under the River Thames will almost double road capacity between Kent and Essex, ease congestion across the region, and divert over 13 million vehicles away from the Dartford Crossing each year, currently the only river crossing east of London. The ambitious scheme includes the longest road tunnels in the UK, 14.3 miles of new road, new viaducts, seven new green bridges, and 24 miles of new paths connecting habitats and communities.
Delivery of this transformative project will support 10,000 jobs in the peak year of construction. Over the six-year building phase, it will employ more than 22,000 people, ranging from highly skilled engineers, architects, and designers, to other essential staff such as caterers, sign makers and IT support.
Highways England is currently developing a skills, employment and education strategy that will enable the delivery of the Lower Thames Crossing as well as support the long-term skills and employment needs of the local community.
The project has worked with Local Authorities and a wide range of stakeholders to understand their aspirations and the local skills market, so they can cultivate a workforce that can support these plans. The strategy will be published later this spring.
Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing Executive Director, said:
Kate Willard OBE, Thames Estuary Envoy, said:
South East Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Christian Brodie added:
As well committing to thousands of hours in schools, the project team are creating resources for students, teachers to help inspire the next generation of UK talent – such as career profiles of apprentices and films showcasing why the industry is so exciting.
Highways England is also building on its track record of supporting local businesses by helping firms across Kent and Essex prepare for the opportunities available. Over 100 business have already registered on a new SME directory that will be given to the main works contractors. Hundreds more local firms have taken up offers of free training to help them win work on this or any other major project.
The Lower Thames Crossing will add billions to the UK economy by helping unlock the huge potential of the Thames Estuary – the UKs number one growth opportunity. The new connection will provide a quicker, more reliable connection between our major manufacturing centres, distribution hubs and key ports and open new markets for local businesses, creating a new economy between Kent and Essex.
Visit the scheme website for more information on this project.