While Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has yet to be convinced by the merits of the Silvertown Tunnel , he has given his full backing to a cycle and walking bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.
He has told Transport for London to press ahead with plans, looking at costing and procurement, and there’s an outside shot that the link could be up and running by the end of his first term in 2020.
Mr Khan said: “What a great project this is. It points to the future of river crossings in London. It is a fantastic opportunity to give this part of London a much-needed cycling and pedestrian crossing.
“The bridge will relieve pressure on the Jubilee line at Canada Water, offer a huge boost for jobs and homes while promoting greener ways of crossing the Thames.”
He said the bridge fitted his template for cross-river infrastructure – that is “crossings should benefit and regenerate communities that need them most and they should include cycling, walking and public transport options and help to break down physical barriers”.
Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said: “I’m strongly committed to this bridge but to deliver this we need more than just words.
" Unlike the Garden Bridge this has a strong transport case. The Jubilee line is under pressure in the morning, Rotherhithe’s roads are congested and with the new developments planned in the area we’re expecting numbers using the Jubilee line to double [between Canary Wharf and Canada Water] up to 2020. I really want to accelerate this project.”
Mr Khan said: “Some options could be delivered more quickly than others.
“Work that I’ve asked TfL to undertake will consider the timescales for the different options to see how quickly we can deliver the improvements and just in case you are concerned that there’s already a design out there, that’s just one design.
“It is a complex challenge with a record-breaking span which results in high costs and requires the most cost effective design.”
He also said he wanted to avoid the procurement controversies that had dogged the Garden Bridge.
After the meeting, Ms Pidgeon said: “The Mayor must now come forward with concrete plans to ensure that this idea is turned into reality as quickly as possible.
“At the same time it is vital that south east London is no longer overlooked by the cycle hire scheme . A pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Thames from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf combined with extending the cycle hire scheme into Bermondsey and Rotherhithe will transform transport links for many people.”