Motorways are much in our minds at the moment, with the works at various stages of the M20 causing short-term pain for we hope will be long-term gain. Certainly if the works between Junctions 8 and 9 mean that never again will we see the motorway closed both ways at once, which caused untold chaos in 2015, then I will put up with some months of works.
My main fear is that this work will not be completed in time for the Brexit date at the end of next March. I hope and expect that we will have a deal so that trade can flow freely through Dover but if we don’t then I am very concerned about the consequences for our road network.
If that happens we will need the back-up, and as the work is not planned to finish until March there is no margin for error. We must hope that there is not a long hard winter to come.
More cheerfully the consultation has now started on the Lower Thames Crossing, which will increase capacity across the Thames by 90%, and should provide the relief we need for the Dartford Crossing, which is one of the more miserable parts of the motorway network.
The latest plans are for three lanes in each direction, which will make the traffic flow more smoothly, and for greater environmental protection, especially for the wetlands in North Kent which are so valuable.
I think this crossing will be good news for the Kent economy, and for the national road network, so I hope the whole process moves smoothly from now on. In the long term it needs to be combined with the dualling of the A2 into Dover, to create an alternative to the M20, but the crossing itself is a big step forward.