Transport Committee wants better planning for river crossings

17/03/2015
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.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

INSIDE:

Highways Awards 2021 finalists revealed

Harris leads National Highways into new era

View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Traffic Engineering Specialist

£31,272 per annum (Band 6)
Eastleigh Borough Council is an ambitious and progressive council with a good reputation for tackling environmental issues. Eastleigh, Hampshire
Recruiter: Eastleigh Borough Council

Commissioning Officer - Highways Asset Management

£34,728 - £36,922 per annum
We are looking to appoint a Highways Asset Management Officer to join our successful and innovative team. Warwick, Warwickshire
Recruiter: Warwickshire County Council

Environmental Health Officer

£27,741 to £33, 782
We have an opportunity in our Health and Safety Team for an Experienced Health and Safety Officer Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Technician - Asset Management - Highways & Flood Risk

£23,541 to £29,577 per annum (Grade G)
We are currently looking to recruit to two exciting opportunities who will join us and play a role in improving West Berkshire’s highways. Newbury, Berkshire
Recruiter: West Berkshire Council

Street Works Co-ordinator

£21,153 - £23,791
Do you want to make a difference to how Street Works are managed within Lincolnshire? Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Transport Planning Officer

£44,863 - £46,845. In addition, re-location expenses may also be paid.
This is an exciting opportunity to join the Strategic Transport Planning Team at Gloucestershire County Council (GCC). Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Group Engineer - Highways Network Management

£40,876 - £45,859 Plus market rate supplement of £3,000, reviewed annually
We are looking for a Group Engineer who will support the recovery from the pandemic. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Group Engineer - Safety Design

£40,876 - £45,859 Plus market rate supplement of £3,000, reviewed annually
We are looking for an experienced engineer to join our Highways Safety Design team. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Asset Management Engineer

£30,451 - £32,234 per annum
The post holder will... Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

£32,910 - £35,745 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Highway Network Management Team to... Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Traffic Signals Engineer

£25,991 - £35,745
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Technician/Engineer to join the Traffic Signals Systems & Operations (TSSO) team as a Career Grade Engineer. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Street Lighting Design Engineer

£18,812 - £35,745
This is an exciting opportunity for you to join Lincolnshire County Council's Street Lighting Team as a Street Lighting Design Engineer. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Project Engineers

£36,922 per annum (Grade H-I)
West Berkshire Council are looking for innovative, enthusiastic and focused Project Engineers. Newbury, Berkshire
Recruiter: West Berkshire Council

Charge Hand (Highways)

£24,943 to £27,067 per annum
We are looking for motivated individuals who are willing to contribute to the team’s growth and success. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Principal Highways Drainage Engineer

£32,910 - £35,745 per annum
Do you want to take a leading role maintaining a large network of assets? Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Cleaner Streets and Waste Contract Manager - Communities

£48,809 - £49,794 per annum
Responsible for managing the street cleansing, household waste collections services and community recycling centres Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recruiter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Senior Engineer Flood & Drainage

£40,876 - £45,859
We make a difference to the environment we live in. Come and help us manage our blue infrastructure. Bracknell, Berkshire
Recruiter: Bracknell Forest Borough Council

Senior Engineer

£31,339 to £35,754 per annum
We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals who are willing to contribute to the teams growth and success. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Waste Collection Operative - Loaders / HGV Drivers (Hays Recruitment)

Competitive Salary
Hays are excited to be working in partnership with Chelmsford City Council who are always looking to expand their teams and are looking for... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video