Plans are progressing on the proposed ‘KenEx’ express tramway line which would see South Essex connected to North Kent under the River Thames. The initial plans for this £800m project were submitted to the Department of Transport back in June 2023 and these plans have now been accepted. Thames Gateway Tramlink Ltd (who promote the scheme) are expected to to submit their final business case by the end of 2023.
The only existing link between Essex and Kent are the Dartford Tunnel and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge – which both suffer from heavy congestion. This tramway would then release pressure from these structures as well as providing a viable public transportation option. The plan is to have an immersed tram tunnel running under the River Thames which would link Grass in Essex and Botany in Kent. The main service would run for 17.6km (11 miles) from Purfleet to Gravesend, with short branches to Lakeside shopping mall and to Ebbsfleet International railway station. This section could be completed by 2028. The second stage would see an extension to the line to Basildon and Canvey at a cost of £400m.
Local councils have expressed their support for the scheme which would provide sustainable public transport to support residential development either side of the Thames as well as providing excellent connections to employment, recreation, retail and health facilities in a region which is dominated by heavy traffic and congestion.