Parish Council

Lower Thames Crossing Utility Trial Trenching Surveys

Notice has been received from Highways England regarding surveys that will begin shortly in your local area. As part of the ongoing surveys HE is going to start Utility Trial Trenching (UTT). This phase of works will begin from this month and will go on until August.  The notification states:

Details of the activities and what you can expect are as follows:

Why we are doing it

These surveys will help us plan the utility diversions that would be required to build the Lower Thames Crossing. This will help us to improve our proposals and to develop our application for the Development Consent Order (DCO). 

What we will do

We will carry out the works using a vacuum excavator. The vacuum excavator uses compressed air to loosen or agitate the ground, which can then be removed using the vacuum on the machine.  At times we will also use hand-digging to ensure safety of the services.

The two survey methods we will use are:

Trial holes

We will carry out the majority of the works using trial holes. The vacuum excavator is used on both the road and the walkways. An operative will park the excavator in a safe location to carry out the work. If the work is being done on the road, there will be traffic management installed, including full road closures or lane closures with temporary traffic lights in place. The detail is outlined below. Where access is needed onto the walkway, a diversion will put be in place for pedestrians.

Prior to any trial holes works we will need to carry out pre-works inspections to verify the exact location of the trial holes. This may require some short term traffic management.  Each location will take between one and three shifts to complete.

Non-invasive investigations

In addition to the trial holes, we will identify utility features, survey them and open chambers. Where possible this will be completed under the traffic management for the trial hole works. However in some cases we may need additional traffic management to complete some non-invasive works.

What to expect

Our priority is to carry out this programme of work in a way that will have the smallest possible impact on the community. We have been and are continuing to work with all the relevant Local Authorities to reduce any disruption that may be caused and to obtain the necessary approvals.

  • While the works may cause some disruption, we will ensure that we put mitigation measures in place to minimise noise.
  • Due to the nature of the works, our works vehicles will use flashing lights for the safety of both the road users and our workforce.
  • All access to properties will be maintained throughout the duration of the works.
  • At times there will be lane closures with two-way traffic lights in place. This is required for the safety of both the road users and our workforce.
  • Where it is not possible for us to carry out the necessary works using lane closures, we will install road closures. We will do so at nighttime only with a fully signed diversion route in place. Additional communications will be sent to local residents regarding specific road closures.
  • The working hours will be Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3pm, or carried out at night-time in high traffic areas, between 8pm and 6am, Monday to Friday.

Phase 1: March to August 2020

Trial holes

Kent What to expect Duration
Valley Drive Trial holes. 2 days – Day-time
A2 (Wrotham Rd to M2 J1) Trial holes – lane closures. 3 weeks – Night-time
Henhurst Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Night-time
Lower Higham Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Night-time
A226 Gravesend Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights. 1 week – Night-time
Lower Higham Rd Trial holes – full road closure. 1 week – Night-time
A2 (Wrotham Rd to M2 J1) Various Slip Road Closures with traffic diverted to the next junction where road users can exit and return on the opposite carriageway. 10 days – Night-time
Thong Lane Trial holes – road closure with diversion in place via Gravesend Road, A289 and the A2. 3 shifts during nights. 3 days – Night-time

Non-invasive investigations

Kent What to expect Duration
A226 Gravesend Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals. 1 day – Night-time
Brewers Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals. 1 day– Night-time

Please visit the website for more details on the UTT surveys, including images of the UTT survey methods.