The FTA has called on the government to speed up its decision over a new lower Thames crossing, after transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin ruled out one of the three possible locations and said a final announcement would be made “as soon as possible”.

The option rejected would have seen a new crossing connecting the A2 with the A1089 (option B).

The two remaining ones are an additional development at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing (option A); and a new crossing connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 (option C).

FTA head of road network management policy Malcolm Bingham admitted that although option C was the association’s preferred route it would cost substantially more due to the length of crossing and the associated construction required – the government’s consultation document suggests option C would cost up to £5bn, while option A would cost no more than £1.6bn.

“We'd like to see option C put in place as first choice but any improvement that increases capacity has got to be welcome,” he said.

“We need some leadership – we need somebody to take a decision,” he added. “Today’s announcement brings us no closer to building the much needed new crossing. When is somebody going to take a shovel and put it into the soil?”