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Rotherhithe bridge consultation delayed as TfL attempts to cut cost

Rotherhithe bridge

The public consultation for the new Rotherhithe Crossing has been delayed pending a value engineering exercise for the bridge option.

Transport for London (TfL) investment delivery planning director David Hughes told a London Assembly budget and performance committee meeting £330M had been set aside to fund the bridge. The bridge is now undergoing a value engineering exercise to see if it could be delivered within that budget.

Another option for the crossing is a shuttle ferry link.

The value engineering exercise has delayed the start of consultation about the scheme. This was due to begin at the end of last month.

“The business plan has a funding provision of £330M. As the work on the design has developed we’ve deferred the consultation to allow us to do more to do more work to get a cost which is in the funding provision,” said Hughes.

The new river crossing for pedestrians and cyclists between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf aims to relieve existing transport links and support growth in the Canada Water and Isle of Dogs areas.

Hughes said the value engineering exercise was looking at several aspects of the scheme including its alignment and Port of London Authority navigation requirements.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has previously stated at a Mayor’s Question Time that the bridge could be privately funded using a public private partnership (PPP) model. But Hughes and TfL director of city planning Alex Williams said this was not their understanding of how it would be financed.

“PPP has to rely on an income stream, like [the] Sivertown [crossing of the Thames] you have a toll,” said Williams. “In theory, you could toll that crossing, but I’m not aware of plans to do so.”

Williams said TfL would seek contributions from developers, but that the the amount they were likely to put in were “not going to be huge”.

An alternative ferry scheme to the bridge is currently being developed by Thames Clipper which is estimated to cost a tenth of the cost of building the bridge.

Williams said to get planning powers to build the bridge TfL would have to review all of the options and do an “appraisal on what is the most effective transport product to serve the needs of that area”.

In March this year, New Civil Engineer exclusively revealed the bridge, if built, will be the world’s longest lifting bridge at 90m high and spanning 180m across the Thames.

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