Ambitious plans to build a £600m tram system linking Dartford, Gravesend and Essex have taken a step forward, according to the brains behind it.

KenEx Thames Transit proposes to install trams running through a submerged tunnel in the Thames to cut traffic and improve the environment.

Campaigners claim the cost of the tram system would be a fraction of the £4.4bn figure the Lower Thames Crossing will cost.

The long awaited LTC is hoped to ease the pressures of the over capacity Dartford Crossing, which currently handles 55 million journeys a year - six million more than it was designed for.

One of the minds behind the proposals, Gordon Pratt, said: "It been a really busy year . But there is lot more work to be done it really pleasing how cross river professional planners have take an interest and want further dialogue.

"We look forward in the new year to continue working with Stake holders both sides of the river and especially working to take on board local resident feelings about existing congestion ,pollution and improvements that can made to help us travel in North Kent and South Essex."

The plans have taken a step forward, with a new map showing three potential routes has recently been unveiled, giving would-be commuters an idea of their potential future journeys.

Starting at Dartford, there would be a tram running to Bluewater, where there would be a meeting of all three lines.

From Bluewater, commuters could continue on through Ebbsfleet Garden City to Gravesend, or venture upwards towards Greenhithe, through Swanscombe and Northfleet before finishing in Gravesend.

The third route moves from Bluewater to Ebbsfleet International, on to the proposed London Resort theme park before using a submerged tram tunnel to travel in Grays in Essex and finally to Lakeside.

There is currently a bus service between Bluewater and Lakeside, as well as the ferry between Gravesend and Tilbury.

Gordon Pratt said "A simple submerged tram tunnel from Kent to Thurrock using this method will greatly reduce the cost of providing the state of the art tram link between Kent and Essex linking making it more attractive to investors. 

"Cut and cover technology similar to that used at the Medway tunnel, where the tunnel sections are built off site then lowered into a trench on the river bed with river bed being restored to its original level with infill". 

Campaigners will start a community engagement project in January next year, and are eager for feedback on their plans.