Despite significant misgivings over the Silvertown Tunnel among the candidates vying for City Hall, the public overwhelming supports the idea of two river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere.
The Silvertown Tunnel has become synonymous with the air pollution debate but 77% of people who responded to a TfL consultation backed the twin links further downstream. This figure hit 90% for the single link between Thamesmead and Beckton.
TfL says the crossings would boost bus services, provide opportunities for new walking and cycling links and could host an extension of the DLR from Gallions Reach.
The backing gives TfL the green light to continue developing the plans in conjunction with the boroughs taking information from the consultation to help shape proposals, including the type of public transport the links could carry.
TfL says that subject to Government authorisation and funding being available, the new crossings could open around 2025. In the meantime, as reported in The Wharf, the Woolwich Ferry service will be upgraded to sustain cross-river travel. New ferries and jetties will keep the service running into the next decade.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “There is no doubt that new river crossings in the east are going to be vital to the future prosperity of our city. As well as improving transport links for all, they will unlock swathes of land for development, leading to new jobs and homes, and improving areas for businesses and communities.
“Gallions Reach and Belvedere are just the start of a series of crossings that are going to prove a real boost to the capital.”
MD for planning at TfL Richard de Cani said: “It’s great to see overwhelming support for these two new cross-river connections. Along with the Silvertown Tunnel, our plan for more river crossings in east London will help transform these areas, supporting regeneration and development on both sides of the river.”
Stephen Nelson, of the South East London Chamber of Commerce, said: “More river crossings for the eastern side of London are absolutely essential. We hope that this time we will end up with the infrastructure that we so badly need.”
Work is now underway to submit plans to Government for permission to start building Silvertown Tunnel, linking the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks.
TfL is now preparing the application for a Development Consent Order which, if successful, will allow for a public hearing to take place later during 2016. If given the full go ahead, construction of the Silvertown Tunnel could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2023.