This week Derek and Aaron met with officials from Highways England to discuss the Lower Thames Crossing on behalf of the residents of Riverview and a few days after Bob and Tony had done the same for Shorne, Cobham and Luddesdown.
Consultation report by the autumn?
There was not much new to report, as they say they are still evaluating the 28,000 responses to last year's consultation but we might hope to receive a report on this by the Autumn.
There has still not been an environmentatl impact assessment carried out yet and Highways England have stated that this is something that will proceed once the design has been finalised.
Bore hole drilling
The groundworks surveys will commence on 1st July prior to which residencies in close proximity can expect to receive notices from Highways England. There will be around 100 bore holes south of the Thames and they can expect to follow an approximate route matching where the tunnel approach road and junction could be located. Trackways will be employed in order to protect the soil and work will have been purposely timed to fit around local crop schedules. There will also be a number along the A2 centre reservation and possibly either side and well as shallow 'trial' pits.
These works will be quite deep and intrusive but for the most part the bore holes will be similar to the core samples many may have seen on Horizon documentaries about Antartica. We have asked LTC to provide us with images of the rigs and apparatus they will be using.
The groundworks survey team will be based at their new compound on the old lorry park at Marling Cross (opposite Nell's Cafe). Access to the sites will be from the A2 via the old Esso Service Station site, and from the A226 - NOT Thong Lane. There will also be laydown and storage areas near Gravelhill Wood and Queens Farm Road.
Similar to the exploratory work on land there will be investigations carried out across the river bed.
The main compound
The consulted proposals had the main compound for the southern side of the project at the site of Southern Valley Golf Course. We have received assurances that heavy machinery and similar noise intrusive instruments would not be situated at the boundary of this compound, close to residents at Thong Lane. In addition, we can expect noise reduction measures to be put in place, possibly by way of raised earth works and/or barriers.
While work is ongoing lines of communication will be open to allow for any grievances residents may have regarding noise or anything else. Highways England were keen to stress they want constructive dialogue with locals - if you have a complaint they will want to find a resolution wherever possible.
We praised Highways England for their uptake of some of our ideas around new woodlands to shield Riverview Park from the new junction and took the opportunity to push for more mitigation measures, and once again asked them to provide traffic forecasts so that we have some idea of the potential impacts on local roads.