Highways England has released a revised plan to build the proposed 14.3-mile long Lower Thames Crossing, a proposed road tunnel that will connect Kent, Essex and Thurrock in the south of England.

Updates to the design include extending the southern tunnel entrance 350m to protect local bird habitats in the Ramsar Marshes and the Thames Estuary.

The new plan also offers direct access between Gravesend and the A2/M2 eastbound, and moves route alignment between Tilbury and the A13 junction nearly 60m northeast.

In addition, the project will now feature a redesigned Gravesend East junction and link roads to mitigate congestion.

The Lower Thames Crossing project will no longer feature a rest and service area or maintenance depot, as earlier planned.

This updated plan was devised after additional surveys and ground investigations were carried out. Highways England also assessed the 29,000 responses received in the last consultation in 2018.

The next phase of public consultation has already begun and is scheduled to end on 25 March this year.

Highways England Complex Infrastructure Programme director Chris Taylor said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is Highways England’s most ambitious project in 30 years, designed to improve journeys across the southeast and open up new connections and opportunities for people and businesses.

“Getting the views of the local community and businesses is crucial to designing a project that will offer the best value, maximise the benefits for all, while reducing the impact on local communities and the environment.

“This consultation is a chance for people to review and comment on a number of changes made since our last consultation in 2018, and to help shape this once-in-a-generation project.”

Once complete, the Lower Thames Crossing will nearly double the road capacity across the River Thames, east of London.