The northbound Blackwall Tunnel finally re-opened at 3am on Wednesday (May 25) after a day of closure and chaos .

More than 2,000 sqm of road had to be re-surfaced after fuel and hydraulic fuel spilled from a vehicle. A mobile crane leaked fluid in tunnel for more than 1km causing around £150,000 of damage.

The tunnel was closed for most of Tuesday leading to five-mile tailbacks with the Woolwich Ferry working late into the night to handle some of the congestion. Delays hit Woolwich, Charlton, Blackheath, Eltham and Greenwich, turning many roads into car parks.

The incident covered such a large area that 15 lorry-loads of damaged asphalt had to be removed from the tunnel overnight.

TfL’s chief operating officer for surface transport Garrett Emmerson said: “We apologise to all drivers and bus passengers who were affected by the spillage in Blackwall Tunnel yesterday which meant we had to keep the northbound tunnel closed all day to remove and resurface thousands of square metres of road.

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“Safety is our number one priority and while it has been frustrating to lose this vital river crossing we and our contractors have worked as hard and fast as we can to reopen the tunnel.

“We have seen on CCTV footage that the spillage was caused by a mobile crane and will be investigating further with the police.”

TfL and police have tracked down the lorry operator using CCTV footage and will be pursuing the cost of damage and repair of the road surface.