Plans will be finalised in spring 2009 for improving M25 junction near Shell Haven and Thurrock

Plans to fix one of the largest remaining transport bottlenecks in the Thames Gateway preventing development will be laid out in the spring, according to the transport minister.

Paul Clark, speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum, said the Department for Transport had completed a review of the options for massively increasing the traffic capacity at junction 30 of the M25 near Thurrock.

The works to improve the junction are necessary to allow plans for the huge port expansion at Shell Haven and an 18,500-home housing expansion around Thurrock to go ahead.

Clark said: "The initial study has been completed. We are now moving to the next phase and will consult in the spring."

However, he said he was not sure what the price of the junction improvements would be, and would not say when the funding would make it into the Highways Agency's spending programme. "We need to look at the options and the package coming forward, and move as quickly as possible to get that in to the programme."

Prime minister Gordon Brown, speaking at last year's Thames Gateway Forum, said the Department for Transport had agreed to fund the works, and the department at the time said it would "agree a way forward" before the end of 2008.