Transport Committee wants better planning for river crossings

Highways Reporters

A lack of cross-river capacity is limiting local and national economic growth, according to a report launched by the Transport Committee.

The Committee says a short-term approach to planning key infrastructure projects has left many estuary areas in the UK with inadequate transport capacity and poor connectivity.

A ‘design life’ for new crossings that has been too short to accommodate future traffic growth has also led to costly duplication decades after existing crossings have exceeded their capacity, say MPs.

The Committee examined a number of case studies during its inquiry including the Mersey Gateway Project, the Tyne Tunnels and proposals for new crossings in East London and the Lower Thames.

Launching the report Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Committee, said: "A lack of cross-river capacity limits local and national economic growth so we call upon the government to take a far more long-term approach when planning new bridges and tunnels. We also heard during this inquiry how current cost-benefit analysis methods used in project design consistently underestimate the usage of new crossings. The government must rectify that weakness as soon as possible.

“Important infrastructure projects, such as the Mersey Gateway Bridge, have the potential to generate economic growth by linking workers to jobs and consumers to retailers. We have recommended ways for the government and transport planners to maximise those benefits to local communities."

Commenting on the proposals for new river crossings in east London, the MP added: "Time and time again a clear need for new river crossings has been identified in east London, but a lack of political leadership has seen plans shelved repeatedly. Without new crossings congestion will continue to get worse and the area will never realise its full potential. To solve that problem, the government and GLA must work together as a matter of priority to establish a special purpose company with the sole objective to deliver a package of crossings east of Tower Bridge."

The Committee has also called on the government to make meaningful progress on building a new river crossing in the Lower Thames to alleviate pressure on the Dartford Crossing and to improve connectivity between Dover Docks and the north of England.

Louise Ellman added: "The Dartford Crossing is the least reliable section of the strategic road network. The DfT’s own figures show that the congestion delays at this pinch point cost the economy £15 million every year. Yet ministers have done little over the past five years to build the kind of consensus between local authorities that is required in order to reconcile national transport objectives and respect local concerns. Worse, they have now said no final decision will be taken until as late as 2016."

The Committee also calls on DfT to:

  • Publish research that demonstrates the link between enhanced cross-river connectivity and urban regeneration, for the benefit of infrastructure planners

  • Investigate what lessons can be learned from the introduction of the Dart Charge, following reports that 15% of users failed to pay during the first month after implementation

  • Investigate how to make free-flow technology, such as that used on the Dartford Crossing, interoperable with other river crossings and road charging schemes

  • Publish risk assessments before authorising projects for the UK Guarantees Scheme which make clear the risks to be borne by the taxpayer and the mitigations that government expects private sector partners to take.

In addition, the Committee calls on the Treasury to update the Infrastructure Pipeline system to show the funding status of each project so that the private sector can better identify investment opportunities.
Highways jobs

Strategic Transport Planner

£39,880 – £41,881 per annum
The post holder will be tasked with delivering actions outlined in the key coporate strategies... Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: Harrogate Borough Council

Chartered Structural Engineer

We are looking to recruit an experienced Chartered Civil or Structural Engineer within the Infrastructure Asset Management Section of... Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recruiter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Street Works Inspector

£24,982 - £27,041 per annum
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Sustainable Travel Delivery Specialist

£32,234 - £34,728 per annum
Are you passionate about Active Travel and Sustainable Transport? Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Projects Officer

£43,719 - £47,743 per annum
We are now looking for a Senior Projects Officer to join our busy Transport and Infrastructure team and support the delivery of a range of... Watford, Hertfordshire
Recruiter: Watford Borough Council

Chief Executive

Competitive Salary
In this unique role, leading the UK’s first sub-national transport body, you’ll draw on your understanding of... Manchester/Leeds (flexible)
Recruiter: Transport for the North

Head of Enforcement & Safety

£67,164 - £75,695
You will have responsibility for operational delivery of key services across the Borough, including... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Head of Outbreak Control (12-month FTC)

£67,164 - £75,695
You will need to demonstrate specific experience in working with the general public, including customer care initiatives such as London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Head of Highways, Traffic and Parking

£67,164 - £75,695
As Head of Highways, Traffic and Parking, reporting into the Assistant Director for Highways and Environment, you will have responsibility for... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Assistant Director of Public Realm

£92,700 to £101,423
As Assistant Director of Public Realm you will provide the strategic direction for, and management of a range of services designed to ensure... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Senior Infrastructure Server Engineer (Senior Data Centre Engineer)

£41,952 - £48,663 per annum
The successful candidate will have a BSc in relevant discipline, or equivalent industry experience. Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Programme Officer (Transport)

£32,910 - £36,922
As a Senior Programme Officer for strategic transport, you will play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of transport policy for... Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Senior Construction Team Leader.1347

£28,672 - £32,234 per annum
You will act as first line manager for the operational construction, depot & highways teams to ensure the best use of available resources to... Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Transport Planner

£26,025 - £38,616 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Sustainable Transport Lead

£39,000- £45,000 per annum
Do you have experience in climate action and community led projects? Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Publica

Highway Development Control Manager (Highways and Engineering)

£35,662 - £41-811 per annum
We are looking for an exceptional candidate who can work with internal and external clients to assess the transport and highways elements of... Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Conservation Officer

£26,025 - £38,616 depending on skills
Do you have passion and enthusiasm for the historic built environment?  London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Project Manager - Waste Management

Up to £47389 per annum
Project Manager - Waste ManagementFixed Term, 24 monthsFull Time, 37 hours per weekUp to £47,389 per annumLocation
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Programme Manager - Waste Management

£51510 - £62842 per annum
Programme Manager - Waste ManagementPermanent, Full TimeUp to £62,842 per annumLocation
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Senior Planner (Policy)

£33,543 - £46,962
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Highways Heroes Special

View the latest issue

Latest Video