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Businesses offer 'hurry up' cash for Rotherhithe renovation

BANKS AND businesses in the Canary Wharf development in east London have offered a subsidy to speed up the pounds 1.5M renovation of the nearby Rotherhithe tunnel.

The 19th century Thames tunnel is due to close for two months on Monday to allow Dutch contractor Ventilatoren Sirocco Howden to replace its ageing ventilation system.

Canary Wharf Developments and tenants like merchant bank Morgan Stanley have held talks with project client London Borough of Tower Hamlets and tabled an outline of the offer. 'The objective is to have a greater degree of confidence that the work will be complete by the opening date,' said Tower Hamlets head of street environment Joe Tavernier. He was expected to tell them this week how much the acceleration would cost.

Temporary closure of the tunnel - one of the few Thames crossings in east London - will worsen mounting traffic congestion on roads in the area until January.

The original programme involved contractors working 12 hours a day, from 7am to 7pm, using downtime overnight to make up programme slippage. Tower Hamlets have now asked the contractor to come up with a 24 hour a day working programme.

Andrew Bolton

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