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Fire reignites calls for Thames bridge

Campaigners for a new Thames River crossing in East London this week seized on a fire in the Blackwall road tunnel between Tower Hamlets and Greenwich to press their case.

The vital commuter route under the Thames was closed for 24 hours last week after an accident caused a fire to erupt in the northbound tunnel, around 100m from the exit.

The blaze damaged the road surface, lighting and CCTV systems. The tunnel closure brought traffic in the area to standstill, infuriating supporters of a new crossing.

Plans for a new crossing are now back on track after London mayor Boris Johnson reversed plans to axe the project.

It is now the subject of further feasibility work alongside renewing the Woolwich ferry (NCE 12 October 2009). Before it was axed, the project had secured £200M in Department for Transport PFI credits. Work could have begun within eight months (NCE 13 November 2008).

“It was a terrible mistake cancelling the Thames Gateway Crossing,” said Greenwich and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford. “When we get a failure, we get a catastrophic impact in the surrounding area.”

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