Transport for London has issued a review of potential of river crossings in East London, to replace the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge, which Mayor Boris Johnson has axed.
The proposal focuses on a number of access possibilities starting with improvements to the passenger ferry services, a pedestrian and Cycle Bridge between North Greenwich and Canary Wharf; and a tunnel or bridge crossing at Silvertown.
In addion, the review recommends a new vehicle ferry crossing at Gallions Reach with the potential to upgrade to a fixed link and options to upgrade the Woolwich Ferry.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Anyone that has ever tried to cross the Thames in East London is aware of the lack of crossings and the congestion this causes. The residents and businesses in this part of London deserve better and I am absolutely determined to deliver the improvements they require.
“This report makes a series of sensible recommendations that we will now dig deeper into and that I will consider as I put together my transport strategy for the capital,” he said.
Last year the Mayor abandoned plans to continue with the Thames Gateway Bridge because, he said, the scheme was not recommended by the Planning Inspector. The Mayor then asked TfL to find alternative options for new east London river crossings.
This review considers transport issues affecting East London, from road congestion around the Blackwall Tunnel, the Isle of Dogs and North Greenwich to improving access for pedestrians and cyclists; and the need to provide access to employment opportunities on both sides of the river.
As the economy of east London has changed and developments such as Canary Wharf, Excel and the 02 have been built, the overall demand for travel across the river has increased significantly. Many of the large new economic drivers for London are located in the east with the majority of these lying north of the river. Opportunities for travelling to these new destinations from some areas south of the river such as north Bexley and parts of Greenwich are restricted.
However, options for crossing the river east of Tower Bridge have improved significantly in recently years with the opening of the Jubilee Line Extension, expansion of the DLR network and the introduction of passenger ferry services. The opening of the extended East London Line next year and Crossrail in 2017 will provide new transport links across but further improvements are required particularly for vehicle traffic across the river.
The next stage of feasibility studies will be carried out in time to inform the new Mayoral Transport Strategy which will be published for public consultation later this year.