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Dartford Bridge And Tunnel

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve access to both ends of the Dartford bridge and tunnel. [36461]

Major improvements were made in association-with the opening of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge a few years ago.

We have a number of further proposals for improving access to the Dartford bridge and tunnel.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the bridge has been one of the Government's great success stories? In co-operation with the private sector, the bridge was built to relieve awful congestion at the Dartford tunnel. With the growth of developments in the area—Lakeside and now Bluewater, and the proposal that there should be a new depot at Ebbsfleet—it is reckoned by those who are running the bridge that congestion will return in three or four years. Does my hon. Friend consider that now is the time, while the bridge is making massive profits, which will soon return to the taxpayer, to reconsider the east London river crossing proposed for Woolwich, which would take a great deal of traffic and be another great Government success story?

My hon. Friend will know that the east London river crossing is the subject of consultation. She is right to say that the Queen Elizabeth II bridge at Dartford is a wonderful example of a private finance initiative in operation.