A NEW road crossing over the Thames from Essex to Kent is being considered by the Government.

In a report, the Department for Transport said it is looking at three possible locations: alongside the present one; between the Swanscombe Penisula and the A1089; or from east of Tilbury to east of Gravesend linking with the M20.

Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said: "The Dartford-Thurrock river crossing is a vital transport link for both the national and South East economies which has brought huge economic benefits and opportunities.

“However, many more vehicles want to use the crossing than it can accommodate and congestion here is likely to get worse in the future unless something is done.”

Further work will be carried out to improve journey time reliability and safety at the existing Dartford Crossing.

The study also recommends possibly improving the layout of the existing crossing's toll plazas or introducing one-way tolling to improve the flow of traffic in the short term.

The news that the Government is looking at ways of relieving congestion at the busy crossing was welcomed by south Essex politicians.

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Basildon and East Thurrock, said: “Most people support an additional crossing but I’m sure that’s conditional on where it is.”

Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, James Duddridge, added: “Anything that can alleviate transport problems the better.

“We can’t build on every inch, but we do need appropriate infrastructure which we don’t have at the moment.”