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Could tram line ease Dartford Crossing congestion by further 10 per cent An ambitious scheme for a multi million pound tram system to run alongside the new Lower Thames Crossing has been proposed promising to cut congestion and link some of north Kent's most iconic development areas. Running from north Kent to Essex, under the Thames, support appears to be gaining momentum but bosses behind the scheme face a huge challenge to get the necessary funding. Last month the government backed a 6billion crossing east of Gravesend known as Option C as its preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing, a route designed to ease the strain on the existing tunnel and bridge at Dartford. Figures suggest it will drain some 14 per cent of the traffic currently using the Dartford Crossing. What 200 people in 177 cars looks like on the road But with more than 50 million people reportedly using the crossing per year, there is now a fresh push to use the Gravesend crossing as the catalyst for a number of improved public transport links. The tram proposal claims it could reduce congestion by a further 10 per cent and would link such key high traffic areas as Bluewater, the developing Ebbsfleet Garden City and the proposed London Paramount Resort for the Swanscombe peninsula. The man behind the project is financial accountant Gordon Pratt who was previously involved in the London and Southern Counties Railway Consortium, a private sector consortium established in 2016 pushing to deliver what is known as the Brighton Main Line two a second railway to run between London and Brighton. He has established KenEx Thames Transit, drawn up plans see four lines serving the local area if the tram scheme gains backing. Bluewater terminus 1: Exisiting blys and transit lounge; 2: Tunnels direct to Ebbsfleet Garden City tram spine; 3: Direct route through Ebbsfleet Garden City fake cartier necklace, Ebbsfleet station, Northfleet station and Grays station. Interchange required to London Paramount. Mr Pratt's proposal suggests that one line would go from Grays to Greenhithe stationed at Bluewater, including multiple stops within Ebbsfleet Garden City. Another would go from Grays to the proposed London Paramount resort at Swanscombe, and a final line linking the theme park to its car park. Financially it is projected to cost 600 million, according to finance experts from KenEx Thames Transit a tenth of the total price of the Lower Thames Crossing. It is expecting the majority of costs to be met by private investors, but will also seek government money. The costs of using the service have not yet been estimated. Mr Pratt said: "Obviously it's not as big as the Lower Thames Crossing, which is why it'll be cheaper. We don't have to provide for four lanes copy love cartier gold ring, or long approach roads, it will just be one tram line there and the same one back. "Public transport options such as buses won't work because you'll get them through the tunnel then they'll have to turn around and there just isn't the room to do that in order to get them back 


copy cartier yellow gold earring. Trams go in, and then come back out. "The case for this idea is quite simple; roads in the area are often gridlocked, levels of pollution are affecting the public's health, connectivity across the Thames is often disrupted in an area of high population density, classic rail connections are slow, and the area can become unattractive for homes and business investment. "Because of my involvement with the London and Southern Counties Transport Consortium, which is a privately financed project, I know the money is available for investment in rail infrastructure, so I'm hoping I'll be able to firm up it up soon." James Willis, Liberal Democrat candidate for Gravesham is backing the scheme. He said: "Nothing is being done about public transport across the Thames. At present, there is a small ferry and a slow bus service that crosses, but that carries less than one per cent of crossing traffic. "It would not only reduce congestion, but also local pollution and resultant deaths which are at an all time high in the area, and higher than any other area in Kent. The coroner's office state that on average around 90 deaths per year in Dartford are due to pollution. The trams would be run with electricity, which could be paid for by fares to use the tram. "This would also be faster, cheaper, and more frequent than rail services between Grays and Northfleet, which require people to go into London first." A spokesperson for Green Party Kent, said: "The whole idea seems like a superb alternative. We would almost whole heartedly support this as an alternative form of crossing to the Lower Thames Crossing. We know it's an idea to go alongside the new crossing due to be built, but that's only going to increase traffic and congestion. Whereas this idea would reduce the number of cars on the roads, and is something we would rather see than the Lower Thames Crossing. "Trams are the past but they're also the future, and we believe that the government should pay for this crossing. One hesitation we would have is if it was built through private financers." However, Bob Lane, chairman of the Lower Thames Crossing Association, still stinging from the decision to build Option C amid claims Highways England skewed the consultation to ensure it was the selected route, said: "I haven't got any thoughts on this proposal to be honest because I don't think Highways England or the government will listen to it anyway." Highways England chief Jim O'Sullivan declined to comment on specifics of the proposal but said: "The Lower Thames crossing route will greatly improve journeys as well as unlocking more than 8 billion of economic benefits and create some 6,000 jobs. "The decision for a new crossing east of Gravesend and Tilbury is underpinned by years of studies, assessments and careful consideration of the record breaking response to our 2016 consultation. As we progress there will be further consultation and opportunities to be part of shaping the detail for the area, now and for future generations."

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