Thurrock Council has expressed “outrage” at Highways England for writing to residents without informing the local authority.
The leaders of the Conservative, UKIP and Labour groups co-signed a letter to Highways England to lodge a complaint about how the public body was communicating with residents over the Lower Thames Crossing.
The letter states: "By ignoring the role of the local authority, elected members and officers, in ensuring our residents are well informed and have the right information to be clear on what is happening with the future of the Lower Thames Crossing, you are undermining the strategic partnership which should exist between our organisations. This is very disappointing and of major concern.
"It is with outrage – if not surprise – that we find ourselves having to write again to lodge a formal complaint about your repeated approach to communicating with our local community without our prior knowledge which demonstrates a lack of respect for the council's community leadership position."
Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: "The situation Highways England has created is completely unacceptable.
"Without an announcement on the route, to send letters to residents completely out of the blue will no doubt cause them concern.
"Highways England must now make sure we are properly informed before any action is taken so we can help residents who may be worried about what is to come."