London Thames River Crossing Given Go Ahead

Friday 18 November 2016

Sadiq Khan has signalled the go ahead for three new Thames river crossings, including the four-lane Silvertown Tunnel. They are expected to provide a major boost for residential development in east London.

The Mayor has set out a proposal for the new river crossings to be built in the next five to 10 years which he claims will vastly improve travel across the capital, while supporting new affordable homes and business opportunities in East London.

There are currently 34 bridges across the Thames, only one of which lies east of Tower Bridge, yet there are more households east of the bridge than west of it.

A report by the Centre for London think tank estimates that the bridges and tunnels could open up land for at least 50,000 new homes, bring isolated neighbourhoods in from the cold and cut commuting times, while creating 60,000 jobs and boosting the capital’s economy by £1 billion a year.

The newly announced Silvertown Tunnel is a four-lane underground highway which will connect the new Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks housing districts and is expected to be open by 2023. The build is intended to ease the build-up of traffic from the neighbouring Blackwall Tunnel and cater for growing demand.

Khan is also pushing ahead with a new Docklands Light Railway crossing between Thamesmead and Gallions Reach and an Overground extension from Abbey Wood to Barking Riverside.

Alex Williams, Acting Managing Director of Planning at TfL, said: “London’s population continues to grow and it’s vital that we do everything we can to support this to ensure that everyone can continue to move around freely and easily. The Mayor’s new vision for river crossings in East London is firmly rooted in supporting growth and providing better public transport links for all. We will now work hard to develop the designs for these new crossings, as well as identify potential funding opportunities, to allow them to be constructed more quickly.”

Concerns have however been raised surrounding the cost and funding of the project. City Hall claimed most funding would come from developer contributions and through existing community infrastructure levies. London Tory transport spokesman Keith Prince is not convinced and has said there was a “worrying lack of detail” over funding.

Despite funding fears, there is a clear agreement that the capital’s transport infrastructure needs improvement in order to develop London’s future economic success.